UP class opening shifts to August in 2014

Jee Y. Geronimo, KD Suarez

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(6th UPDATE) All constituent units of the state university – except for UP Diliman – are covered by the decision. The shift will make UP in sync with the rest of the world, officials say.

File photo by Nathan Gatpandan

MANILA, Philippines (6th UPDATE) – The University of the Philippines System (UP System) will move from June to August the start of classes for academic year 2014-2015.

University officials said this will make the university in sync with the rest of the world.

UP said Thursday, February 6, the shift will be adopted in a pilot basis for the 7 constituent units which “completed consultations over the past year and have written the Board of Regents that they are ready to shift their calendar.”

The 7 constituent units are UP Manila, UP Los Baños, UP Baguio, UP Visayas (all campuses: Iloilo, Miag-ao, and Tacloban), UP Mindanao, UP Open University, and UP Cebu, the university said in a statement.

Under the new academic calendar, the first semester will be from August to December; the second semester, from January to May; and the short term, from June to July.

The shift was approved during a meeting of the UP Board of Regents Thursday.

UP said moving the academic calendar will facilitate academic exchanges, joint research, and quality assurance benchmarking. It will also promote student and faculty mobility.

“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,” UP President Alfredo Pascual said in the statement. 

With the change in the start of the school year, graduating high school students who will choose to enter the university will have a longer break – approximately 5 months – compared to the two months they currently have between graduation and the start of college.

Pascual said the long break can be a period of bridging for those who need classes in languages, science and math before entering UP. 

The UP Integrated School (UPIS) and high school units in the UP System will follow the current academic calendar, the Manila Collegian, UP Manila’s official student publication, said in an update posted on its Facebook page.

The academic calendars of UP’s basic education units do not necessarily need to be in sync with the academic calendars of the higher education units for now, UP Vice President for Public Affairs Prospero De Vera told Rappler.

UP Diliman: More consultation

UP Diliman is not adopting the shift academic year due to opposition from various sectors within the campus, including the UPD University Council, reported the Philippine Collegian, the campus’ student publication.

In the interim, Diliman – the system’s flagship unit and its largest in terms of student enrolment – will follow the June to March calendar. UPD’s extension programs in Pampanga and Olongapo will also use the current calendar.

“UP Diliman has not completed its stakeholder consultations and will hold a forum on Monday, February 10, where experts will discuss historical, cultural, climatic and international context related to the shift in academic calendar,” the statement read. 

The forum will be held at the National Institute of Physics (NIP) Auditorium, the Collegian reported. Diliman may still adopt the new calendar, pending the consultations, it added. 

Back in January, De Vera told Rappler the rest of the UP campuses and their chancellors are ready to implement the change this coming school year 2014-2015 “even if Diliman doesn’t go.”

For global competitiveness

UP is among the Philippine universities that considered shifting their academic calendars to become more globally competitive.  (READ: The road to ASEAN 2015: Why are PH colleges lagging behind?)

Meanwhile, ending the first semester in December will “create an uninterrupted semestral system” which Pascual said will reduce transportation costs for students who go home during the holidays.

The Board of Regents will evaluate the pilot implementation period after one year, including its impact on concerns such as:

  • the release of UPCAT results
  • the schedule of licensure examinations, field activities, clinics and internships 
  • the schedule of UP traditions like the lantern parade

Earlier Thursday, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) announced that its undergraduate and professional schools will shift the start of their academic year starting 2015. Instead of starting in June, they will start the school year in August 2015.

De La Salle University (DLSU), the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Adamson University are also mulling a change in their school calendars.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said shifting of the academic year is not suited for all higher educational institutions. It ordered the creation of a technical working group to provide data for CHED to arrive at a clearer position on the issue by March.  Rappler.com

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.