UP assures ‘inclusive’ admission process during pandemic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2020 02:53 PM | Updated as of Oct 28 2020 05:50 PM

Students applying for the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) queue at the admissions office on July 31, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— An official from the University of the Philippines (UP) on Wednesday assured the public that it would come up with an “inclusive” admission process as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the school’s usual conduct of an entrance test.

Francisco Delos Reyes, director of the UP Office of Admissions, said the university’s Board of Regents is set to meet on Thursday to decide which among 5 options would be the new process in selecting UP freshmen for the next academic year.

Consultations have been conducted in UP’s 8 constituent schools on the matter of an alternative to the usual UP College Admission Test (UPCAT), which is taken annually by around 100,000 applicants, said Delos Reyes.

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The test to the premier state university is known to be among the toughest college admission tests in the country. 

“Kung ano man ang magiging decision, we’ll commit na ito ay magiging inclusive, ito ay mayroong respeto sa diversity, ito ay mayroong consideration sa excellence at ito ay mayroong equity,” he said in an interview.

(Whatever the decision is, we’ll commit that it will be inclusive, it has respect for diversity, it has consideration to excellence and has equity.)

The new admission process considers the background of marginalized sectors such as indigenous people and public school students so they can get “fair access” to UP education, Delos Reyes added.

According to a report published Tuesday on UP’s official website, the following are the options or scenarios that the university was considering for its freshmen admissions:

1.) A paper-and-pen administration of the UPCAT (UP College Admission Test), subject to the COVID-19 protocols of and in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and local government units. 
2.) An online UPCAT
3.) A hybrid paper-and-pen and online mode for UPCAT
4.) A no-UPCAT scenario where UP may mine data from the applicant’s personal data sheet, high school records, the specific high school and performance of its graduates in UP, etc., to arrive at the University Predicted Grade
5.) A moratorium on freshmen admissions

In 2019, only 13 percent or 11,821 of 90,408 who took the test passed the exams. 

Some higher education institutions waived entrance examinations this year due to the pandemic and assessed applicants based on their high school grades. 

The National Union of Students of the Philippines earlier questioned the fairness of assessing college applicants based on high school grades, saying such marks do not accurately reflect students’ performance.

Other universities and colleges chose to hold online entrance exams, which Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera described as “problematic” because it was possible that the applicants are not the ones answering the test.

– Report from Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News 

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