Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan , formerly a chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, shares a dissenting view on a proposal to change the school calendar, now under review by the Department of Education.
"Go slow on changing the school calendar," he says. "As former Chair of the Education Committee, this matter was brought to our attention in 2004. While the typhoon season causes a disruption of classes in June and July, data show that the strongest typhoons come in during September and October--the months wherein the change in start of the school calendar is being proposed."
"Foremost to consider is the excessive heat during the months of April and May. Unlike typhoons which disrupt classes for a few days, the summer heat takes place daily for two months."
"Our classrooms aren't air-conditioned and in many cases are overcrowded. Can our young students bear the heat on a daily basis for two months? Or will this not affect their physical and mental health?"
Pangilinan points out further: "Typhoons happen two or three times in a month, thereby disrupting classes for several days--but the summer heat is a daily ordeal. DepEd must weigh its options: Several days of class disruption due to typhoons, or daily ordeals and suffering from the summer heat due to the dry season?"
"For this reason I oppose the moving or changing of the calendar until such time that a definitive study has been undertaken to determine the impact of excessive heat in the learning process of our students."
Should the DOE be bent on pursuing the proposal, Pangilinan puts forward a recommendation: "The DepEd should pilot-test the impact of summer heat on our students. Essential in the learning process is the need to provide a setting conducive to learning. Will the exposure to daily excessive heat for two months get in the way of this essential requirement? DepEd must pilot-test the proposal before making any final recommendation."