UP faculty, students urge review of academic calendar shift

By Fidea Encarnacion, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 10 2014 08:54 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2014 04:54 AM

UP President Dr. Alfredo Pascual explains the benefits of the shift in academic calendar in a forum held February 10, 2014 in Diliman, Quezon City.

MANILA – Students and faculty of the University of the Philippines want consultations on the academic calendar shift from June-March to August-May.

This is following the announcement by the Board of Regents (BOR) that the shift will be effective starting 2014 in its 7 constituent universities, excluding UP Diliman.

In the ‘Forum on the Philippine Academic Calendar’ organized by the University of the Philippines at the Diliman campus on Monday, University Student Council Chair Alex Castro said that they were taken aback by the immediate decision made by the BOR regarding the academic calendar shift.

“Totoo pong nabigla kami na nagkaroon ng desisyon ang BOR. Marami sa students ang naging in favor of the shift, [pero] gusto [namin] ng konsultasyon.”

Castro believes students are more informed now, and he invited them to participate in the on-going survey being conducted by the student council.

“[Maraming constituent units] ang ‘di nabigyan ng panahon na makonsulta. [May] ongoing survey po ngayon [na magpapakita] kung ano ang pananaw ng UP students.”

Faculty alike were also concerned about the shift as it would affect researches, particularly those that would involve studies with the different UP units.

UP System President Dr. Alfredo E. Pascual said Diliman is currently in the process of assessing if the shift should be implemented in its biggest campus.

Having 45% of the total number of students in the UP System, Diliman plays a crucial part in this integration.

“[The] Board of Regents approved the proposal for 2014 -2015 in its 7 constituent universities. Diliman is still going through the process of assessing pros and cons,” Pascual said.

He said that the switch in the academic schedule is to enable UP to take part in the internationalization with different countries, aligning it with the ASEAN Economic Community integration by 2015.

“[This is] to provide a clear signal that the UP is internationalizing. UP will have the opportunity to increase faculty mobility, inbound-outbound and exchanges, [and start] projects with ASEAN and other universities," he said.

Other factors, particularly the weather conditions, have also been taken into consideration.

Dr. Laura T. David, deputy director for instruction of the Marine Science Institute, College of Science, said the months of June, July and September have had the strongest storms in Diliman, from information collected since 1951.

According to School of Economics professor Dr. Emmanuel de Dios, internationalization will improve academic offerings local students will receive, which would improve the university's standard of education.

“Successful 'international character' implies proper academic conditions have been provided, not only for foreign nationals but primarily for nationals,” he said.