Shekinah Jedidiah M. Alima

The Department of Education (DepEd) is exploring the possibility of holding Saturday classes for the upcoming school year 2024-2025 due to the planned return to the traditional June-March school calendar. 

Photo Manipulation by Melinda Reyes. Photos Courtesy of Jire Carreon/Rappler/Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News.

This shift will result in a shortened school year with fewer class days.

Leila Areola, DepEd director for curriculum and instruction, explained during a congressional hearing on basic education that the earlier school ending in March 2025 could result in as few as 163 school days. 

To address the potential shortfall and ensure students meet the 180-day minimum requirement, DepEd is considering selecting Saturdays for additional classes.

Areola, however, clarified it will not be every Saturday of the upcoming school year.

“There will just be certain Saturdays that we need to conduct, for example, distance learning, so that they will be able to cover the competencies that might not be covered with the reduction of the school year,” she said.

Concerns arose in the education sector when it comes to competencies that might be missed by the students, thus the Saturday classes plan.

“The immediate effect of the transition is if we’re going to end in March 2025, the number of school days will be reduced to 165,” DepEd assistant secretary Francis Bringas explained in an interview on PTV on May 8.

“Historically, the minimum has been 180 school days, and because we will shorten the SY, we will have to cope with the possible non-covering of some competencies,” he added. 

The decision to adjust the school calendar stemmed from concerns raised about the impact of scorching summer heat on students’ well-being and learning.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. previously expressed his desire to return to the June-March school year to avoid the hottest months, prompting the adaptation of asynchronous learning or distance learning modality.

DepEd recently issued Order 037, allowing schools to suspend classes when the heat index reaches 40 degrees Celsius.

This measure makes the current school year speed up its completion, making Saturday classes a potential solution to meet the minimum number of school days.