BIG SCHOOLS PUSH NEW ACADEMIC CALENDAR: 'SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER'

With more schools planning to adjust their academic calendar to that of the rest of the world, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is weighing the proposal of the “big four” universities for a change in the start of the academic year to August or September. But Patricia Licuanan, CHEd chair, said on Friday that the proposal would be carefully studied to determine its impact and implications on the wider education system in the Philippines. “We are forming a technical working group and asking them to study the implications and hold consultations on this proposal,” Licuanan said in a telephone interview. The University of the Philippines (UP) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) were the first to propose the change last year. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) and De La Salle University (DLSU) followed shortly with the same plan.

ALSO: In the Know: PH only country with June-March school year

The Philippines is the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that follows a June-to-March academic calendar. Other Asean countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and, most recently, Thailand, are already following the September-to-May school calendar. In the United States, the school calendar begins between August and September and ends in June. In some European countries, the school year starts in the first week of September. In Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, it generally starts between mid- to end-August. In Southern European countries like Greece, Portugal and Turkey, the school calendar starts during the second half of September.
Other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea have a different school calendar. The academic year in Japan starts in April and ends in March. South Korea’s academic year begins in March and ends in February.
 

ALSO: Manila Times Editorial- Blessings of the magi

WITHIN a decade beginning at the 21st century’s threshold, Filipinos have nudged upward their literacy rate to five percent. So shows the 2010 Census of Housing and Population data released late December 2013 by the National Statistics Office. In NSO reckoning, all it takes for a person to be deemed as literate is to be “able to read and write a simple message in any language or dialect.” With that as yardstick, it turns out that 97.5 percent or 69.8 million of the total 71.5 million persons aged 10 and above were literate in 2010—and that was 5.2 percent higher than the 92.3-percent literacy rate notched in 2000. Centuries back, three learned men—so-called wizards or magi—from eastern parts of the globe sought out a newborn king, who in their reckoning, was out to save mankind. No GPS, no hovering communication satellite, likely just crude instruments, old-fangled maps, sheer persistence or maybe faith and a scatter of stars in the vault of heaven to guide their quest. They found Him.

ALSO: Phl population set to hit 100 M

A hundred million. The population of the Philippines is expected to reach that number this year, putting a strain on the country’s resources, the Commission on Population (PopCom) said. “Definitely in the third or fourth quarter of this year, we will be more than 100 million,” PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III told The STAR yesterday. In 2013, the National Statistical Coordination Board estimated the country’s population to be around 97.35 million. Health Undersecretary Janet Garin, for her part, said the ballooning population should be matched by economic growth. Otherwise, she claimed, all the economic reforms that the government has been undertaking could be jeopardized. Garin has underscored the need for the Supreme Court to decide now on the Reproductive Health (RH) Law because it will fortify existing programs of the Department of Health.


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Big schools push new academic calendar; ‘I’ll see you in September’


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/01/university-0104.jpg
The University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University (clockwise) have proposed to adjust their academic calendar to that of the rest of the world, prompting the Commission on Higher Education to weigh the proposal of the “big four” universities for a change in the start of the academic year to August or September. UP PHOTO FROM INQUIRER FILE; ATENEO, UST AND DE LA SALLE PHOTOS FROM THEIR FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS

MANILA,
JANUARY 6
, 2014
(INQUIRER) By Nathaniel R. Melican - With more schools planning to adjust their academic calendar to that of the rest of the world, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is weighing the proposal of the “big four” universities for a change in the start of the academic year to August or September.

But Patricia Licuanan, CHEd chair, said on Friday that the proposal would be carefully studied to determine its impact and implications on the wider education system in the Philippines.

“We are forming a technical working group and asking them to study the implications and hold consultations on this proposal,” Licuanan said in a telephone interview.

The University of the Philippines (UP) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) were the first to propose the change last year. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) and De La Salle University (DLSU) followed shortly with the same plan.

Licuanan, however, said that only UP and Ateneo had notified CHEd of their plans.

The big four universities argued that adjusting their academic calendar would prepare them for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Economic Community (AEC) planned for 2015 and align their academic calendars with other major universities in the world.

Autonomous schools

Licuanan said the four universities were “autonomous,” a status granted them by CHEd, so they had the freedom to carry out the change, provided they notified the commission first.

Most of the country’s more than 2,000 colleges and universities do not have that status and must seek CHEd approval before they can change their academic calendar.

“I don’t think there will be much of a problem if only these four will adjust their academic calendar. But now, it seems other groups of universities and colleges are supporting the idea. As their regulator, we have to step in and study this carefully,” Licuanan said.

Adamson University, also autonomous, recently announced its plan to change the start of its school year to August, if a shift would be allowed this year, or September if the change would start in 2015.

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) welcomed the proposal and said many of its members supported the idea.

No hurry

But the CHEd is in no hurry to put Philippine schools in sync with the rest of the world. In fact, it is just beginning to form the group that will study the big four’s proposal.

“We are only starting now because we did not think this was a big deal, as only the four had [announced that they were changing] their academic calendar. But now it is a big deal because of the bandwagon effect,” Licuanan said.

The group will submit its study by March, then call for discussions and hold consultations.

“I don’t think it’s for all institutions, but just for a select few.” Licuanan said. “There might be some kind of alternative for the rest, something in between a shift in the calendar. Like a quarterly term system, for example, which will allow mobility of students a lot better while still allowing us to be part of the Asean 2015 system without changing the basic education system.”

Disruption of system

A problem posed by the proposed shift is the disruption of the local education system.

“If [elementary and high school students] will graduate in March and the opening of classes will be in September, there will be a huge gap and a disruption. And if in the end, not all colleges and universities decide to adopt the new schedule, that’s something they have to work out,” Licuanan said.

“It could be a benefit to big universities that can attract more international students, so it’s a boost to international mobility. But the bulk of students will still come from local high schools,” she said.

Philippine weather remains a big factor, Licuanan said.

“We went through this a lot of times before, and the main argument is really the weather. Once the first storm hits us, there’s a clamor to move the start of classes. But other months are stormy as well,” she said.

Not keen

The Department of Education (DepEd) is not inclined to change the academic calendar for elementary and high school students.

Tonisito Umali, assistant education secretary for legal affairs, said in a separate interview that while the DepEd is carefully studying the proposal, it is not keen on adopting it.

“Schools have proposed a shift before, citing the weather. But in 2009, a survey we did showed only three of the 16 regions—Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Western Mindanao—were in favor of the shift,” Umali said.

“So the weather is not enough reason to move the [start of the] school year. Now, they’re putting forward a different reason, the Asean integration. We’ll see if there are really compelling arguments for their proposal,” he said.

Umali said the June-to-March calendar was the best option.

“If you look at other countries, their school year begins in autumn, which comes in August or September. Their vacation starts around June, which coincides with their summer. Here, the vacation period starts in April, which is also summer,” he said.

Weather

Umali said that while rains and storms only affect certain parts of the country at any given time, the heat of summer is felt everywhere at the same time.

“Not all our classrooms have air-conditioners. And students have always chosen summer as bonding time with their families, which we consider very important. We have many fiestas and holidays during summer. The Holy Week also comes [in summer]. These are the few times to contemplate and to enjoy their families’ company,” he said.

There are other factors to consider, he said.

“We have to look first at the number of international students coming here for basic education. It’s quite big for college, but we have to determine it for elementary and high school,” he said.

Advantages

But the CEAP sees advantages in the shift.

Joseph Noel Estrada, CEAP legal counsel, said the shift would open up opportunities not just for students to easily transfer to other educational institutions abroad, but also to universities.

“Because of the difference in the academic calendars, many of our member schools miss many opportunities for collaboration in research and student and faculty exchanges,” he said.

“Many of our member schools support the idea, but they cannot take concrete measures yet because they are regulated by CHEd. Until CHEd gives the go-signal for the shift, we cannot really [have concrete plans] for this,” Estrada said.

In the Know: PH only country with June-March school year Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:46 am | Saturday, January 4th, 2014

The Philippines is the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that follows a June-to-March academic calendar. Other Asean countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and, most recently, Thailand, are already following the September-to-May school calendar.

In the United States, the school calendar begins between August and September and ends in June.

In some European countries, the school year starts in the first week of September. In Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, it generally starts between mid- to end-August. In Southern European countries like Greece, Portugal and Turkey, the school calendar starts during the second half of September.

Other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea have a different school calendar. The academic year in Japan starts in April and ends in March. South Korea’s academic year begins in March and ends in February.

Like in some European countries and in the United States, China’s school calendar also starts in September and ends in June.

In Australia, the school year begins in January and ends in December.

Executive Order No. 292, signed in July 1987 by then President Corazon Aquino, provides that the opening date of the school year for the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels for public and private schools “shall not be earlier than the first day of June nor later than the last day of July of each year unless prevented by fortuitous events.”

This academic calendar was adopted to coincide with the country’s two seasons—rainy (from June to November) and dry (from December to May).

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said last month that no decision has been made regarding the proposed shift in academic calendar for basic education.

He cited a Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) study showing that typhoons and heavy rains are not frequent occurrences during June and July.

Classes in April and May may also not be advisable due to the intense heat, Luistro said

Bills that would change the academic calendar have been filed by Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla in the House of Representatives and by Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in the Senate.—Compiled by Marielle Medina and Kathleen T. de Villa, Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives, Organisation of School Time in Europe by the European Commission, Seoul National University, Chuo University, Australia.gov.au, NYC Department of Education

MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL


A long difficult journey, they seek, they find Him.

Blessings of the magi

WITHIN a decade beginning at the 21st century’s threshold, Filipinos have nudged upward their literacy rate to five percent.

So shows the 2010 Census of Housing and Population data released late December 2013 by the National Statistics Office.

In NSO reckoning, all it takes for a person to be deemed as literate is to be “able to read and write a simple message in any language or dialect.”

With that as yardstick, it turns out that 97.5 percent or 69.8 million of the total 71.5 million persons aged 10 and above were literate in 2010—and that was 5.2 percent higher than the 92.3-percent literacy rate notched in 2000.

Notes NSO: “There are more literate females than males—higher by 0.2 percent, or 97.6 percent compared to 97.4-percent male literacy rate.”

Let’s make this clear: No global standard for measuring literacy holds sway. Fact is, most nations reckon the literacy of their populace by the ability to read a newspaper—not much of an omen for local print media whose combined circulation for the nation’s readers is way down below five million newspapers weekly.

For want of a global literacy standard, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) plies a less-than-easy measure of literacy: “(It is the) ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.”

Too, the Unesco yardstick for literacy “involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”

NSO may have set too low a mark of literacy for Filipinos to yawn through. So unlike the Unesco nudge for people to engage in critical thinking and continuous learning to make the grade, maybe make a difference in the community and society.

Centuries back, three learned men—so-called wizards or magi—from eastern parts of the globe sought out a newborn king, who in their reckoning, was out to save mankind. No GPS, no hovering communication satellite, likely just crude instruments, old-fangled maps, sheer persistence or maybe faith and a scatter of stars in the vault of heaven to guide their quest.

They found Him. And laid before the infant who would be king their gifts usually brought to honor a monarch—pricey bitter myrrh used to embalm dead royalty, gold, and frankincense, expensive gum resin used in perfumes and salve for joint pains.

It must have entailed a “continuum of learning” for an ordinary mortal to become a magus; the Christian faithful celebrates today a feast for three of such exceptional learned men. The celebration writes finis to the world’s longest Christmas season—not much of a celebration to a continuum of learning that both enable and ennoble Filipinos to achieve their goal, seek out and sharpen edge in knowledge, and maybe participate fully in the community and society.

A 2004 global survey “IQ and the Wealth of Nations” had the Philippines scoring an average of 86- dullard or bobo level; one level up from moron, two levels up from imbecile. We ought to have moved up from that level.

As everything begins at home, would-be-parents among Filipinos have a lot of catching up to do in training their children in the way they should go.

FROM PHILSTAR

PHILIPPINES: A HUNDRED MILLION!

Phl population set to hit 100 M By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 5, 2014 - 12:00am 8 292 googleplus0 5

MANILA, Philippines - A hundred million.

The population of the Philippines is expected to reach that number this year, putting a strain on the country’s resources, the Commission on Population (PopCom) said.

“Definitely in the third or fourth quarter of this year, we will be more than 100 million,” PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III told The STAR yesterday.

In 2013, the National Statistical Coordination Board estimated the country’s population to be around 97.35 million.

Perez noted that to support the rising population, more investments in social services such as health and education, and infrastructure would be required.

Health Undersecretary Janet Garin, for her part, said the ballooning population should be matched by economic growth.

Otherwise, she claimed, all the economic reforms that the government has been undertaking could be jeopardized.

“The government will always be there to provide social services but it’s not unlimited. There is a limit to our funding,” she said in a telephone interview.

Garin has underscored the need for the Supreme Court to decide now on the Reproductive Health (RH) Law because it will fortify existing programs of the Department of Health.

“If you look at the situation, the desire to plan the family is there but the question is that the affordability is not there. This is where the law comes in, to make sure poverty will not get into generational (traits), that you won’t pass it on to the next generations,” she maintained.

Perez added that since the country’s population growth rate is now around two percent, “we have to maintain a gross domestic product of more than four percent to keep pace with employment.”

“But we have to maintain that for five years, not just one year, to get there, to get the benefits,” she said.

He said to get the “benefits of demographic dividends,” the current total fertility rate (TFR) or the “replacement rate” of 3.1 must be improved to 2.1. TFR pertains to the number of children per woman.

“Of course what we want to do is not really population growth rate reduction. It’s not that. We want to get a replacement rate of 2.1,” the official claimed.

But Perez said that it would take five to 10 years to bring the TFR down to 2.1

And to minimize the impact of the huge population, there is also a need to improve the contraceptive rate that is now pegged at 49 percent.

“We have to reach a contraceptive rate of around 65 to 70 percent. Now it’s 49 percent so that means in five to 10 years we have to get there and keep it up for five years,” he added.

The official agreed that the RH Law could also help the country cope with the rising population.

“The RH Law – this is my own opinion – talks about additional resources for the program and the local government units (LGUs) are getting on board in terms of policy,” he claimed.

With the law, LGUs will be mandated to provide funds for reproductive health programs, including the purchase of contraceptives. The measure, however, has not been implemented due to a restraining order issued by the Supreme Court.

Perez said that the health resources of most LGUs are still pegged at 1992 levels, or when health services were devolved from the DOH to the local levels.

“There are already existing mandates like the PopCom and DOH for a population program. What the RH Law will do is strengthen the policy level and the LGU level and increase resources,” he added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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