By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Private schools are allowed to adjust their respective school calendars as long they inform the Department of Education (DepEd) of any deviation from its prescribed calendar.
Following the early Christmas break announced by DepEd, education lawyer Joseph Noel Estrada said private schools may not follow the prescribed school calendar of the department based on existing policies and laws.
Citing DepEd Order No. 25 series of 2018 issued May 24, 2018 or the school calendar for SY 2018-2019, Estrada said “private schools may deviate from this school calendar.” Based on the existing DepEd policy, private schools “may not start classes earlier than the first Monday of June and not later than the last day of August, as provided in Republic Act (RA) No. 7797, titled An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) Days to Not More than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days.” The private schools that wish to deviate from the DepEd-prescribe school calendar “should notify in advance their respective regional offices (ROs) regarding any deviation from the school calendar.”
This flexibility, Estrada explained, is also consistent with Section 12 of Batas Pambansa 232 or the “Education Act of 1982” which grants the school administrators the “administrative discretion necessary for the efficient and effective performance of their functions.”
Estrada added that Section 114 of the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education or DepEd Order 88, series of 2010 as amended also provides the condition that “all private schools which desire to deviate from the prescribed school calendars may submit a corresponding application to the Secretary of Education at least 15 days before opening of classes.”
DepEd has already announced that the Christmas break for this school year has been moved a week earlier. Instead of having the Christmas vacation starting December 22, school break will start on December 15 and classes will resume on January 2, 2019.
Issuing DepEd Order No. 49 series of 2018 covering public and private elementary and secondary schools, Briones said the department “values the importance of spending quality time with the family.” With longer vacation this Christmas season, she hopes there will be a “better opportunity for Filipino learners to strengthen their emotional bonds with their family.”