UPLB community slams ‘repressive’ ban on unenrolled students in classes
LAGUNA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) community raged online on Sunday, March 24, over a memorandum that banned students who are not enrolled from attending classes.
The UPLB University Student Council (USC) posted the March 15 memo of UPLB College of Arts and Sciences Dean Felino Lansigan on its Facebook page on March 24. It also noted that it was Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr who gave the instruction.
In the memo, Lansigan reminded instructors and professors to follow "university rules and policies regarding the matter."
Students of of state universities and colleges (SUCs) no longer need to shell out money during enrollment with the Free Tuition Law. Why then are there many unenrolled students in UPLB?
According to them, the problem regarding enrollment is less about paying the tuition but more about the "bureaucratic system" of the university.
USC Vice Chairperson Han Norca said that the “flawed” Student Academic Information System (SAIS), which students use to register in their courses, is dependent on available facilities and resources in the campus, which UPLB is lacking. This has caused several backlogs and delays in the overall process of enrollment for the students. (READ: UPLB students hold #JunkSAIS protest on first day of classes)
SAIS is a data management system that seeks to “integrate and harmonize the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and system across all constituent universities (CUs) of the UP System.”
It is part of UP President Alfredo Pascual’s P752-million flagship program called eUP. (READ: 4 things to know about eUP’s SAIS)
Norca told Rappler the slots may not be enough to cater to the number of students enlisting in each subject, noting that SAIS also has a "faulty" tagging system which wrongfully marks some students "delinquent."
“Minsan kasi tina-tag ng SAIS na delinquent ang isang estudyante kahit maganda naman ‘yung record. Ang nangyayari kasi SAIS will prioritize students who have good academic standing,” added Norca. (Sometimes SAIS will tag a student as delinquent even if he has good academic record. What will happen is that SAIS will prioritize students who have good academic standing.)
Students who fail to enlist to a subject online have to do it manually – running after the professors, getting papers signed, and submitting the papers to several departments. The process usually takes weeks, or even months, depending on the availability of the administrator who will sign the papers.
Attempts for dialogue
According to Charm Maranan, officer-in-charge of the school organization Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan, they kept asking Sanchez for a dialogue with the USC and campus organizations to address the concerns of students, but such atempts were in vain.
“We have requested dialogue with Chancellor Sanchez for the third time. This is despite the efforts of the students to face him, but he is never available to address our concerns,” said Maranan.
Meanwhile, Kirby Vicente, a graduating BA Communication Arts student, fears he may not graduate this semester because he hasn't been able to enroll yet due to lack of one unit on his course load.
“Kulang pa ako ng isang unit which is the manuscript. Lagi na lang dine-deny ‘yung appeal ko for course petition citing no concrete reason (I still lack one unit which is for my manuscript. My appeal for course petition always gets denied citing no concrete reason),” shared Vicente.
“Nakakalungkot lang na hindi ako makaka-graduate, hindi dahil sa negligence ko but sa negligence ng admin (It's just sad that I won't be able to graduate on time not because I'm negligent, but the negligence of the admin),” added Vicente.
Online, students slammed the memo which they described as "repressive and anti-student."
In a comment, UPLB almunus Reginel Valencia called out Lansigan for the move saying, "Dean Felino, do you really have to be this harsh?"
For Mackie Valenzuela, the UPLB registration system is “faulty at its best,” and the readmission policy is "disgusting."
“You look down on the students and tag them as 'delinquents' for failing to enroll. Well, in fact, it is YOUR ADMINISTRATION that is delinquent,” wrote Valenzuela.
Asked for her message to Chancellor Sanchez, Maranan said: “Face the students and be accountable. After 5 years, student services and students’ rights and welfare [have been] continuously deteriorating.”
Norca said the UPLB-USC has sent a letter to the University Secretary requesting that the issue on registration be discussed on the next Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, March 28.
Rappler has also reached out to Lansigan and Sanchez for comment, but they have yet to respond as of posting. – Rappler.com
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