UP Diliman faculty favor academic calendar shift, referendum shows

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 17 2014 06:01 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2014 02:01 AM

MANILA - The University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman is moving closer to a decision on the academic calendar shift to August, with majority of its faculty members voting to follow an earlier move by other UP campuses to start internationalization this year.

In a document obtained by ABS-CBNnew.com, members of the University Council of the Diliman campus “overwhelmingly” voted to shift the calendar to August-July from the current June-May.

The University Council is composed of professors, associate professors, and assistant professors.

The results show that 70% of those who participated in a referendum between February 24 and 26 voted for the academic shift, a move questioned by some people within and outside the university.

Of the 1,130 UP Diliman faculty, 954 participated, or 84%. This was unlike an earlier voting, where only 15% showed up.

The colleges that supported the shift include Law (100%), Labor and Industrial Relations (100%), Marine Science Institute (95%), Statistics (94%), Asian Institute of Tourism (91%), Human Kinetics (91%), Architecture (87%), Engineering (86%), and National College of Public Administration and Governance (83%).

Meanwhile, of those who participated, 76% voted to finally implement the change this school year instead of in 2015.

The referendum likewise sought the sentiments of faculty members with the rank of instructors. Of the 293 who participated, 281 voted for the proposed calendar shift.

“The referendum was decided by the Chancellor and the UP Diliman Executive Committee composed of the deans of the various colleges, to determine the sentiments of the faculty as part of the consultative process in the campus in the ongoing proposal to shift the academic calendar,” the document says.

There will be a special University Council meeting next week.

Students, meanwhile, gathered opinions via online.

In February, the UP Board of Regents approved, on a pilot basis, the shift in its academic calendar starting August 2014 for the following campuses: UP Manila, UP Los Banos, UP Baguio, UP Visayas, UP Mindanao, UP Open University and the UP College in Cebu.

Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Sto. Tomas have likewise approved internationalization of the academic calendar.

UP explained that this action plan promotes the free flow of goods and services among ASEAN member-countries, thus leading to the harmonization of the academic calendar.

UP President Alfredo Pascual said the shift in calendar “will create more joint programs and partnerships with other universities, allow students to get transfer credits, particularly under ASEAN and ASEAN +3 Credit Transfer System (ACTS), and address the problem with semestral gaps with partner universities.”

This does not bode well with some stakeholders, however.

The leftist Kabataan Party, for instance, said: “Actually, education tourism has been on the rise for some years now. But with universities in the country now aligning with the academic calendars of more foreign higher education institutions, we won’t be surprised if more and more foreign students start enrolling in our schools.”