BY GENALYN D. KABILING
A measure allowing the movement of the opening of classes beyond August during times of emergency has been signed into law by President Duterte.
Republic Act No. 11480, signed last July 17, empowers the President to adjust the start of the school year upon the Secretary of the Department of Education’s recommendation.
The new law amends Republic Act No. 7797 which states the class opening must begin anytime from June to August.
“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 scholar year in the country or parts thereof,” the law says.
Under RA 11480, the deferred school opening will be applied to all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools.
The Education Secretary must also determine the end of the regular school year, “taking into consideration the Christmas and summer vacations and the peculiar circumstances of each region.”
“In the exercise of this authority, the Secretary of Education may authorize the holding of Saturday classes for elementary and secondary levels for public and private schools,” the law also says. The Education department has been directed to issue the rules and regulations of the new law in consultation with concerned stakeholders within 30 days after effectivity of the law.
The new law takes effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper.
The passage of the law comes after the government moved to implement blended learning methods in lieu of physical classes in the opening of classes next month.
Classes may be held online or distance learning due to concerns for the health and safety of students amid the coronavirus pandemic. Enrollment of students, however, has reportedly dropped as families cope with the economic blow of the coronavirus outbreak.