Through all of the fuss and the temporary decisions made by lawmakers and some school heads, the Senate finally approved a bill that would allow the President to move the school calendar to August of this year.
Senate Bill (S.B.) 1541 or also known as the Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (220) Days to Not More Than Two-Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days, authorizes the President to move or to start the school year during a state of emergency or calamity; upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Senator Win Gatchalian, the Co-Author and the Sponsor of the bill, applauded and gave thanks to his colleagues for seeing the urgency and the emergency of this measure.
All to the President’s decision
In his statement, Gatchalian said that the fast and urgent effect of this would help the President to be empowered in terms of choosing to move the school calendar to August, as well as decisions about the coming school year.
The immediate effect of this legislation would be to empower the President to move the start of the School Year 2020-2021 to September or even later; in the event that public health authorities would recommend the postponement of the school year in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.”
As per the bill, the school year shall start on the first Monday of June; however, it should not be later than the last day of August. Furthermore, the bill reads that should there be a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity — this can be proven to be effective.
The school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August. Provided that in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity, the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education, may set a different date for the start of the school year.”
To whom is this effective to?
As per the bill, the measure in which this bill that would move the school calendar to August is effective and will be applied to both public and private schools middle schools and high schools in the country.
The Education Department, too, did not fail in welcoming the development and the enhancement of the system. As a matter of fact, they said that they’re open to it.
Nepomuceno Malaluan, Undersecretary of the DepEd, said that they’re completely welcoming the expansion. He added that they would express zero oppositions to that should it be recommended either by our President or the Department of Health (DOH).
We have welcomed the expansion– the discretion on the school opening, including especially in times of crisis like this. We have stated our positions in those. If it is to give the DOH (Department of Health), the executive, or the President broader discretion in times of emergencies like these, we express no opposition to that.”
For Gatchalian, who was the co-author and the sponsor of the bill, he expresses his thrill and excitement about the bill being passed and approved. He said that education is one of the most important things in a child’s life and depriving them of it would be bad; but given the situation, there are right reasons for the adjustment.
Natutuwa po ako at nakapasa na sa senado ang panukalang batas na ito. Mahalaga ang pagpasok sa eskuwelahan ng mga bata, pero higit na mahalaga ang kanilang kaligtasan at kalusugan. Kaya bigyan po natin ng pagpapasya ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas at ang Kalihim ng Edukasyon upang baguhin ang petsa ng pasukan sa panahon ng pandemya habang walang kasiguraduhan sa kaligtasan at kalusugan ng kabataang Pilipino.”
In Translation: I am happy that the bill has passed through the Senate. Going to school is an important part of a child’s life; however, what’s more important is their health and their safety. Let us give and leave the decision to our President, as well as the Education Department in the modification and the changing of the schedule of classes in the middle of this pandemic.
What do you think about the empowerment that would be given to the President that discusses his decision to move the school calendar? Do you think that this will be a helpful act?
Similarly, a bill that looks like this is still pending in the House of Representatives. The bill is currently on its third (3rd) and final reading; let’s wait for the progression of the said bill.