MANILA – The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of the Philippines (UP) System have approved the academic calendar shift from June-March to August-May.
In a post in its official Facebook page, the Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of UP-Diliman, quoted UP Student Regent Krista Megarejo as saying that the UP Board of Regents has approved the shift of the academic calendar from June to August starting academic year 2014-2015.
Only UP Diliman will keep the same academic calendar "due to opposition registered by sectors."
ADMU, meanwhile, said the shift in its academic calendar will take effect in 2015. The change covers the university's Loyola Schools and Professional Schools.
According to the ADMU's website, the Loyola Schools is the tertiary level school unit of the university that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Arts and Sciences.
The Ateneo Professional Schools, on the other hand, is the post graduate unit of the university.
Ateneo Grade School and High School, meanwhile, will remain in the June to March academic calendar. No shift in the academic calendar is currently being considered for them.
"The academic calendar shift is among the initiatives to be undertaken by the Ateneo de Manila University in response to the increasingly globalized world," the university said.
ADMU President Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ was quoted as saying that the university "needs to ensure that our graduates develop a global outlook and global competencies so that they can navigate a more complex, interconnected world and contribute towards resolving global concerns."
The shift in the academic calendar is expected to align ADMU with more than 80% of its partner universities overseas and more than 70% of all universities around the world.
The university said the proposal was a product of internal study and intensive consultations over the last eight months which involved faculty members, administrators, students, staff, parents and employers.
ADMU, which enjoys autonomous status, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was informed of the process. Various stakeholder groups by and large supported the initiative, the university said.
The university said certain concerns such as the timing of licensure exams particularly in law, medicine and electronics engineering will still have to be addressed to ensure smooth transition.
"We are dedicating one and a half years to work through these concerns thoroughly and systematically. We are confident that we will be ready by 2015," Villarin said.
The De La Salle University (DLSU) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) have also expressed openness to changing the school calendar.
The plan to change the academic calendar is in preparation for the economic integration of the Southeast Asian region in 2015.
Under the scheme, Philippine universities are expected to attract foreign students and facilitate the enrollment abroad of Filipino students and faculty members.
The DLSU administration released a copy of a memorandum last Dec. 2 regarding the proposal to shift its academic calendar starting 2015.
It proposed the start of the university’s first trimester on the first week of September.
The Varsitarian, UST’s official school organ, likewise reported last Dec. 7 the university’s plan to synchronize its academic calendar with those followed in most countries.
The Commission on Higher Education said the universities are considered autonomous and thus can adopt the change without its approval. Universities that are not autonomous would have to secure CHED's approval before they can adjust their academic calendars.
The Philippines is the only member-country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) where the academic year begins in June. Thailand followed the September-May calendar in 2011. – with The Philippine Star