MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Ateneo de Manila University announced on Thursday, February 6, that it will start its school year in August and end it in May, effective 2015.
On its official website, the Ateneo said its board of trustees approved this in its meeting on Wednesday, February 5.
The change will take place in school year 2015-2016, and will apply to its undergraduate and graduate schools – its Loyola Schools and Professional Schools.
The school calendar of its grade school and high school units will remain unchanged. “For them, no shift in the academic calendar is currently being considered,” the Jesuit school said.
The university said this shift “is among the initiatives to be undertaken by the Ateneo de Manila University in response to the increasingly globalized world.” (READ: The road to ASEAN 2015: Why are PH colleges lagging behind?)
Ateneo president Fr Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ said: “Ateneo 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 toward resolving global concerns.”
The Ateneo said this shift will align its schedule “to more than 80% of its current university partners overseas and more than 70% of all universities around the world.”
“This will facilitate mobility among students and faculty members and collaborative academic programs and research,” it said.
Sanggunian, the student government of Ateneo’s Loyola Schools, welcomed the decision.
“On behalf of the students of the Ateneo, we welcome the shift of the new academic calendar. The approval of the Board of Trustees concludes a long consultative process which included the entire Ateneo community. We look forward to working with our administrative counterparts to make the transition as smooth as possible,” Sanggunian president Dan Remo told Rappler in a text message.
CHED: Not for all
Before making this decision, the university said it consulted its students, their students’ parents, teachers, and staff over the last 8 months. It also informed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) about its plan. “The various stakeholder groups by and large supported the initiative,” the Ateneo said.
It also said it will “ensure a smooth transition,” which involves “the timing of the licensure exams particularly in law, medicine, and electronics engineering.”
Villarin said, “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.”
Other universities have proposed changing their school calendars, too. (READ: 8 ways PH higher education can prepare for ASEAN 2015)
The University of the Philippines and Adamson University reportedly aim for an August school opening, while the University of Santo Tomas and the De La Salle University propose beginning the school year in September.
CHED, for its part, said it is “a little concerned” as more colleges and universities plan to synchronize their academic calendars with the rest of the world.
The commission said this shift is not for all. – Paterno Esmaquel II, with report from Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com