UCA News


Philippines reschedules new semesters due to coronavirus

New academic year not likely to start until at least August instead of June, govt says

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Philippines reschedules new semesters due to coronavirus

A boy cries on his first day at school in Manila in June 2019. The start of the new school year in the Philippines has been put back because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s Education Department says. (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)

Share this article :
Philippine education authorities say they have been forced to delay reopening schools for the start of the new academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic

Elementary and high school classes were due to begin in June but will be put back to August or September, the department said on May 1.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the deferral followed a meeting between department officials, health experts and other sectors to discuss adjusting the academic calendar to prepare for a “new normal” in Philippine education.

“We have been consulting our own people and people from other departments, and they agree that it would be safer to move the start of classes nationwide to August or even September, if necessary. We want maximum protection for our students, teachers and staff,” Briones told reporters.

Colleges and universes have also announced a similar measure by restarting lectures in September.

The Commission on Higher Education, meanwhile, confirmed it had suspended remote learning due the fact many students could not access online classes.

The commission said it acted after receiving complaints from many students who said they did not have laptops or computers at home.

Other complaints cited an inability to pay internet fees due to economic hardship brought about by strict lockdown measures.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement on April 30 calling for the release of “vulnerable’ prisoners” at risk of exposure to the virus in the country's overcrowded prisoners

“We join the call … for the expeditious release of vulnerable inmates who are ill and old as well as youths in conflict with the law and low-risk offenders. We all know the general condition of our country’s detention facilities, hence the probability they will become infected and in turn infect other detainees, as well as those guarding them, is very high,” the statement said.

As of April 30, the Philippines had recorded 8,488 Covid-19 cases with 568 deaths, according to government figures.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."