The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Tuesday, March 2, that it adjusted the academic calendar for school year (SY) 2020-2021, extending it by moving the last day of classes from June to July.
In a department order furnished media, the DepEd said that the adjustment was made to "address learning gaps" and to give teachers time to prepare the materials for distance learning.
The 3rd quarter will begin on March 22 and will end on May 15.
Meanwhile, the 4th quarter will begin on May 17 until July 10, which is also the last day of classes. Initially, the school year was scheduled to end on June 11.
The DepEd said that from March 1-12, schools would conduct "intervention and remediation activities" based on the needs of students. From March 15-19, teachers would attend professional development programs organized by their schools or the DepEd units.
"The additional two-week period shall be compensated by a similar adjustment in the school break between SY 2020-2021 and SY 2021-2022," the order said.
"Struggling learners are expected to catch up and the fast learners shall be given enrichment activities," Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio told Rappler in a Viber message.
The order covers all public elementary and high schools in the country. Meanwhile, private schools, technical and vocational institutions, and higher education institutions offering K-12 curriculum are encouraged to implement the new guidelines.
The DepEd has yet to comment when asked if the adjusted school calendar would affect the summer break of students.
San Antonio earlier floated the idea of shortening the summer break to give students more time to complete their requirements.
After drawing flak, San Antonio said on Wednesday, March 3, that he will no longer propose a shortened summer break of two weeks to the DepEd Executive Committee.
“It was among the many options we were considering but noting the objections from our stakeholders, we will no longer propose a two-week break,” he told reporters in a Viber message on Wednesday.
Philippine schools have stopped face-to-face classes for almost a year now, forcing students and teachers to shift to distance learning.
The implementation of distance learning, however, has been widely criticized, as the country appears to be not fully prepared for it. This is evident in the difficulty of teachers to cope with the new mode of instruction, lack of access of a number of students to gadgets needed for the shift, and reports of erroneous learning modules.
On Monday, senators filed a resolution seeking the "immediate launch" of pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in the 1,605 schools identified by DepEd after President Rodrigo Duterte rejected bid to allow in-person classes.