A recent press statement from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) stated that the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) will be shifting their academic calendar from June-March to August-May.
Their academic calendars for both the primary (elementary) and secondary (high school) level, however, remain unchanged. They will still commence in June and end in March the following calendar year.
Republic Act No. 7797 section 3 allows for such changes. “The school year shall start on the first Monday of June but no later than the last day of August.”
UP announced that they would begin opening classes in August this SY 2014-2015.
Ateneo also confirmed in a memo that they will start implementing the new school year in 2015.
CHED expressed the intent and vision of both universities to become more global in nature, allowing them thereby to “internationalize their programs” for both students and faculty. Such a direction lets these universities participate in joint programs and partnerships with universities in other countries.
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It should be noted, though, that the Philippines does not share similar school opening seasons with other ASEAN countries. For instance, Thailand starts theirs in May, Brunei Darussalam in January, Laos in September, Vietnam in August, and Cambodia in October.
However, they also noted some apprehension for the possible implications such a transition would create. In order to properly examine and prepare for this move, a high-level Technical Working Group on the Academic Calendar (TWG-AC) was organized. The said body would submit their recommendations to CHED by March 2014. TWG-AC is comprised of stakeholders from the academe.
De La Salle University (DLSU), Adamson University (AdU) and Far Eastern University (FEU) have also communicated their intent to revise their academic calendars. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) has also announced that it will move its class opening starting SY 2014-2015 to July.
Education secretary Armin Luistro said earlier this year that more thought should be put into it should these changes be done for other schools and/or universities, as they would affect the students in a big way. For instance, public schools do not have air-conditioning, and it would be very uncomfortable to have classes during the “summer months”, March to May.
Since public schools are often used as evacuation centers during typhoons, they might have problems catching up on lessons, too. Luistro did mention that schools often have strategies to help students cope, such as makeup classes.