Briones rejects early Christmas break


EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones rejected the proposal of Sen. Grace Poe to declare Christmas break for students earlier this year in a bid to ease the expected holiday traffic snarls, particularly in Metro Manila.

Briones refused to adjust the school calendar saying students should complete the minimum 180 days contact time with the teachers.

The school calendar, she explained, requires 202 school days, and Christmas break in public schools starts on Dec. 22 and ends on Jan. 2, 2017.

She also said that if they acceded to the request of Poe, they would have to extend the classes which means that schools would be open until the Holy Week.

If make-up classes are held on Saturday, it is likely that parents and students will complain because students would get tired.

Briones however said private schools can declare an early Christmas vacation if they want to.

“It’s more of the private students who have parents with cars that are causing traffic. Most public school students simply walk to school or commute. Private schools are autonomous so it is up to their decision,” she said.

The Senate committee on public services, chaired by Poe, is drafting a final version of the bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to deal with the traffic crisis. FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO


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  1. There’s a better way than what Poe suggests and it will not sacrifice the 180 day DepEd requirement. Implement a similar traffic odd even scheme for student/commuters instead of early Xmas vacation.

    By alternate weekends for select school levels like substitute mon-tue as weekend (no classes) for HS, but hold their classes until sat-sun. This would not only effectively redistribute traffic to lessen weekday traffic congestion, but also partly address the shortage of classrooms by alternating those used by elementary for HS use on sat-sun, and likewise those not used by HS on mon-tue (day off) can be utilized for the elementary classes. That’s 7.3 millions HS student not including HS teachers, that can be eliminated from Mon-Tues, traffic.

    This solution struck me as I passed silent school buildings during sat-sun and wondered why such a waste of time and school building resources. Then I realized that if there were shifting/alternating classes levels they could take advantage of less traffic during Sat-Sun, and effect reduction of traffic on the weekdays.