Students who head home to some universities in the Philippines this year will not have to worry about missing the enrolment deadline.
Several institutions have shifted their academic year to bring them into line with educational partners in the Association of South-East Asian Countries and around the world.
In the past, the school year in the Philippines started in June and finished in March. The planned shift would mean starting in August or September, and finishing in May or June.
In the UAE, Filipino primary and secondary-school years run from August until May.
“It’s really good news for us,” said Dr Ofelia Padilla, principal of the Philippine National School.
“Our classes end in May, and right after graduation, parents had to get their children into university in Manila by the first or second week of June.”
The school, established in 1998, has 800 students. There are 44 Grade 10 students, 70 per cent of whom are expected to return home for university.
“For so many years we’ve been compressing our schedule so our graduating students are able catch up with the June school opening of most Philippine universities,” Dr Padilla said.
The University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and Adamson University are aiming for an August start this year. The University of Santo Tomas and De la Salle University plan to open in September.
Ernesto Refugio, a civil engineer in Abu Dhabi, welcomed the change.
“We had a very bad experience,” said Mr Refugio, 58. “A day after graduation, my wife and I had to accompany our daughter, who was already late for enrolment in the Philippines.
“We also had a similar experience when her sister graduated many years later. ”
Krystle Ann Refugio, now 25, is in medical school and her sister, Erlyn Therese, 19, is a fourth-year biology student in Manila.
Mr Refugio said he would prefer the academic year to start in August or September rather than June, which is the start of the typhoon season. About 21 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.
Rosemarie Natividad, the principal of the Philippine-Emirates Private School, said the move would benefit its 60 Grade 10 pupils, who are expected to go home to attend university.
School administrators and teachers also welcomed the change. They usually attend seminars in Manila in the first week of May, but need to return to Abu Dhabi for the end of the school year.
“After the seminar, our teachers will have more time to spend with their families in the Philippines during the school break,” Ms Natividad said. (The National)