UP rejects call for immediate end of semester

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2020 09:14 AM | Updated as of Nov 27 2020 12:24 PM

A security guard lowers the Philippine flag as the sun sets at the University of the Philippines Oblation fountain in Diliman, Quezon City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The University of the Philippines (UP) has rejected calls for the immediate end of the first semester, saying classes are scheduled to close on Dec. 9.

UP Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia, in an interview with ANC Friday, said the Board of Regents approved the recommendation of the President's Advisory Council (PAC) to end the semester as scheduled.

"The PAC, which is comprised of all the chancellors of our 8 constituent units, the director of PGH (Philippine General Hospital), the director of our BGC campus and the system officials of the University of the Philippines, were unanimous in recommending that the semester end as scheduled, which is Dec. 9. Which is a few days away," she said.

The highest governing body in the UP System is the Board of Regents. Its members are drawn from both the university, and the private and public sectors.

In mid-November, some students and faculty members called on the school’s administration to “immediately” end the semester, citing challenges in distance learning coupled with the effects of typhoons that recently struck the country.

"With only 3 weeks left to finish the semester, discounting the time needed to recover by those affected by the recent typhoons, the pressure to finish the remaining days of the semester has exacerbated to the point of inhumanity,” the group had said in a statement.

UP started its classes on Sept. 10, implementing remote learning after the government banned in-person classes due to the pandemic.

Pernia said they had properly evaluated the proposal but it was not the sentiment of the majority. UP has at least 45,000 students and nearly 5,000 faculty members but only hundreds signed the petition, she added.

"For every person who said end the semester now, there's another voice that says huwag naman (please don't)," she said, adding those who opposed the call have "a variety of reasons."

"Marami diyan gusto na magtapos. Gusto mag-graduate para makatulong sa mga magulang," Pernia said.

(Many wants to graduate to help their parents.)

"'Yong mga iba kukuha ng mga professional exam. Kailangan 'yon. 'Yong mga may scholarship. Kailangan 'yan," she added.

(Others will get professional examinations. [Grades] are required. Others have scholarship. It's also needed.)

The UP official likened the semester as a transition period as classes shifted online due to threat of COVID-19.

"Admittedly, this semester is like a transition semester. We had a lot of sabihin mo nang (you can call it) birthing pains regarding itong (this) remote learning," she said.

"Because of the pandemic and because of rules against face-to-face classes, we have to speed up the training of our faculty in developing their modules."

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