• The education department is seriously studying a proposal made by Sen. Grace Poe to set an earlier Christmas break for schools
  • The proposal was presented as part of measures to provide quick solutions to the road traffic crisis
  • DepEd officials said that Poe’s proposal needs to be studied intensely to consider the official school calendar

The Department of Education is seriously studying a proposal presented by Sen. Grace Poe to close schools two weeks earlier for the Christmas break.

Poe’s proposal came as part of measures to provide quick solutions to the road traffic crisis, an article published by InterAksyon disclosed.

As mentioned by Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones, Poe’s proposal was included on the agenda of the DepEd Executive Committee last week.

Assistant Secretary Tonecito Umali, on the other hand, noted that the relevant DepEd units are weighing the impact of declaring an earlier holiday break.

Umali stressed that their agency is open to suggestions to help find ways on easing the public’s pain over the horrendous traffic. However, Poe’s proposal needs to be studied intensely to consider the official school calendar, he added.

As stated in the DepEd Order No. 23, series of 2016, a total of 202 class days, of which 180 days are deemed “non-negotiable contact time” or period when teachers must be with students face to face.

Umali explained that the official calendar pegs the start of the Christmas break at December 22.

Poe’s proposal, on the other hand, would require accounting for two weeks of “loss of contact time” in December.

Furthermore, the DepEd official said the summer break under the official calendar starts April 7, and pushing this back to cover the lost contact time in December could impact, in turn, the schedules for summer classes that normally run from mid-April to end-May.

The DepEd likewise sets so-called “buffer days” from which to draw the contact time lost from class suspensions due to typhoons and other disasters.