By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) has amended its policy on kindergarten education, thereby allowing transitory provisions to accommodate Kinder and Grade 1 enrollees for the next two school years affected by the cutoff age policy.
Children who are 5 years old by June 1 of every calendar year shall be accepted in Kindergarten by both public and private schools following the DepEd) issuance of the “Amendment to DepEd Order 47, S. 2016, Otherwise known as the ‘Omnibus Policy on Kindergarten Education,’ Clarifying that the Cutoff Age Policy is Applicable to Both Public and Private School and Providing for Transitory Provisions to Accommodate Kindergarten and Grade One Enrollees for SY 2018-2019 and SY 2019-2020 Who May Be Affected by This Policy, and for Other Purposes.”
Signed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, the amendment, also known as DepEd Order 20, series 2018 (DO 20) was issued to “emphasize that the application of the cutoff age applies to both public and private schools” and in exercise of its authority vested by Republic Act 10157 (An Act Institutionalizing the Kindergarten Education into the Basic Education System and Appropriating Funds Therefor) to regulate the organization, operation and/or implementation of the Kindergarten program for both public and private schools.
“We are issuing this amended enrolment procedure to address the concern of parents while ensuring that our Kindergarten learners are holistically prepared to face the expectations of the grade level,” Briones said in a statement.
Briones, in the amended order, said the Kindergarten curriculum is “designed to respond to the holistic developmental needs of 5-year-old learners” – along with socio-emotional, values, physical health, creative, mathematics, understanding of the physical and natural environment, language, literacy, and communication development. “Moreover, the first quarter of the curriculum is structured to strengthen the learners’ preparation to meet the Kindergarten learning standards,” she added.
Nonetheless, Briones noted that “learners entering Kindergarten who will turn 5 years old by the end of August may be considered by schools” provided that they are administered with the Philippine Early Childhood Development (ECD) checklist before the school year opens.
Recognizing the difference in school year opening among schools, the DO 20 also provided for adjustments in the age cutoff period. “Thereby, Kindergarten learners should be 5 years old by July 1, with an extension period until September 30, if their schools open the school year in July; and by August 1, with an extension period until October 31, if their schools open the school year in August,” DepEd said.
Meanwhile, DepEd said “private schools are still allowed under DO 20 to add requirements for admission to Kindergarten that are consistent with existing laws and rules.”
DepEd also outlined a “transition period” for affected learners. In DO 20, DepEd issued transitory provisions which will apply to all Kindergarten and Grade 1 enrollees, in both public and private schools, who may be affected by the policy.
For the upcoming SY 2018-2019, DepEd said “learners who completed Kindergarten in SY 2017-2018 shall be allowed to enroll in Grade 1, given that they turned 5 years old within SY 2017-2018.” Meanwhile, for learners who will turn 5 years old within SY 2018-2019, DepEd said they “shall be accepted in Kindergarten granted that they pass the Philippine ECD [Early Childhood Development] checklist.”
DepEd noted that learners who completed Kindergarten in SY 2018-2019 are allowed to enroll in Grade 1 for SY 2019-2020 “as long as they turned 5 years old within SY 2018-2019.” Meanwhile, incoming Kindergarten for SY 2019-2020 “must strictly comply with the cutoff age policy” of DepEd Order 47, s. 2016, as amended.
By SY 2020-2021, DepEd stressed that “strict compliance to DO 20’s amended enrolment procedure shall be imposed on all incoming Kindergarten and Grade 1 learners.”
Earlier, parents of learners adversely affected by the cutoff age policy for kinder filed a cased against DepEd citing that the said policy “indubitably causes grave and irreparable injury to them as it unjustly infringes upon their clear and unmistakable right to rear their children and direct their education.”