It’s final: UP adopts August-July school calendar

All UP campuses will start classes in August this year, its Board of Regents decides

MANILA, Philippines – After months of debate, the entire University of the Philippines system will adopt the August to July school calendar for school year 2014 to 2015.

The UP Board of Regents (BOR) approved the shift on Friday, March 28. The move came a month after they gave the go signal to 7 of its constituent units to change their calendars: UP Manila, UP Los Baños, UP Baguio, UP Visayas, UP Mindanao, UP Open University, and UP Cebu College. 

The BOR is the UP system’s highest governing body composed of high-ranking officials in the public and private sector, including the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson, UP president, UP Alumni Association president and the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

Until Friday’s decision, UP Diliman’s adoption of the new calendar remained uncertain. But last Monday, March 24, the UP Diliman university council (UC) voted 284-164 to change the calendar. The UC is UP Diliman’s highest policy-making body in the campus composed of all assistant and full-time professors.

A referendum organized by the UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan from February 24 to 26 showed that 70% of all participating faculty voted in favor of the academic shift. Of these, 76% wanted to implement the shift in August 2014. 

The two events seemed to build up to the Friday decision finalizing the academic shift for the entire UP system.

Several colleges registered an overwhelming amount of support for the calendar shift:

  • Law – 100%
  • Labor and Industrial Relations – 100%
  • Marine Science Institute – 95%
  • Statistics – 94%
  • Asian Institute of Tourism – 91%
  • Human Kinetics – 91%
  • Architecture – 87%
  • Engineering – 86%
  • National College of Public Administration and Governance – 83%

Ready for ASEAN?

UP President Alfredo Pascual said it was the school’s desire to keep up with the impending 2015 ASEAN integration that is seen as one of the major reasons to adopt the new calendar. (READ: 8 ways PH higher education can prepare for ASEAN 2015)

“The decision to shift the academic calendar is part of the continuing efforts of UP to develop into a regional and global university and to maximize the opportunities offered by ASEAN integration and global educational partnerships,” he said.

But UP Vice President for Media Affairs Popoy de Vera said the BOR’s approval of the shift is on pilot test basis.

“The pilot phase is to make sure all issues and problems identified by the different campuses are addressed. The chancellors, when they requested the BOR for authority to shift, included a list of issues and concerns raised during their consultation,” he told Rappler in a text message.

The officials of all UP campuses will submit a one-year workplan detailing the activities they will pursue in preparation for the next school year to address the identified problems, he added. (READ: CHED: School calendar shift not for all)

Some of these problems include the schedule of licensure exams, schedule of field work, and internship and clerkship in medical school.

Meanwhile, Pascual gave assurances that UP is doing all it can to be ready for ASEAN integration.

It has increased funding for research and scholarships for doctoral students. The national science and engineering complex has also been completed while dormitories and other facilities have been improved. UP is also subjecting its academic programs to quality assurance reviews under the ASEAN University Network.

Other universities have decided to adopt a school calendar shift. Ateneo de Manila University will implement the August to July calendar in 2015.

The University of Santo Tomas has decided to start classes in July 2014 instead of June – part of a gradual shift to a September to June academic calendar. Saint Louis University in Baguio also announced it will be starting classes in August this year. – Rappler.com

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