The Department of Education (DepEd) clarified that the Aug. 23 school opening of classes remains a “proposal” of the agency and that the final decision will still be approved by President Duterte.
“Nung unang nabanggit iyan, malinawanag na ito ang proposal namin kasi kapag wala pang nailalabas na DepEd Order, ay hindi pa iyan final, pwede pang mabago (When that was first mentioned, it was clear that this was our proposal because when no DepEd Order has been issued, it is not yet final, it can be changed),” said Education Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio during a DZBB interview on Thursday, April 29.
San Antonio said that it was clear to DepEd that the final decision on school opening will still be up to the President.
“Maliwanag at niliwanag sa amin na ang gagawa ng mga desisyon sa pagbubukas ng klase ay isasangguni pa din po at ang final decision ay nasa Pangulong Duterte (It is clear to us and it was made clear to us that when it comes to the decision related to opening of the classes, it has to be consulted first and the final decision will be up to President Duterte),” San Antonio said.
“Ito ay proposal namin at siya pa din po ang magbibigay ng final na desisyon kung itutuloy na ang Aug. 23 (This is our proposal and he will still give the final decision on whether to continue with Aug. 23,” he added.
DepEd’s Aug. 23 school opening proposal has been receiving mixed reactions from stakeholders – particularly coming from those who have access online.
For the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), for instance, the Aug. 23 school opening is a “added burden” because it will shorten the two-month break for learners.
While there are those who oppose DepEd’s proposal, groups like the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) expressed support to the Aug. 23 recommendation especially since the resumption of limited face-to-face classes remains a possibility.
Asked what is the basis used by DepEd for the Aug. 23 school opening proposal, San Antonio noted that this is still based on the existing school calendar schedule “wherein the opening of a new school year should not go beyond the month of August.”
San Antonio said that based on the 2022 calendar, last Monday falls on a holiday so DepEd opted to open the school week without holidays.
“May batas na nagbibigay sa pangulo na gumawa ng desisyon kung kailan mainam magbukas ng klase (There is a law that allows the president to decide when it is best to open classes), San Antonio said.
He added that the proposal of DepEd also adheres law mandating that school opening should not go beyond that month of August. The next school year, he noted, “will still be 10 months.”
However, certain adjustments will also be made since the SY 2021-2022 will fall under the election period.
“Magkakaroon tayo ng break sa election period kasi hagip na ang eleksyon sa May 2022 (We will have a break in the election period because of the May 2022 election),” San Antonio ended.