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UP considers shifting start of school to August

July 28, 2013 9:24pm

Citing the need to keep in step with other learning institutions worldwide, the University of the Philippines may be on its way to shifting the start of the school year from June to August.

That is, if a policy proposal to change the academic calendar garners enough support.

A memorandum from UPLB Chancellor Rex Victor Cruz dated July 22 said the shift is in support of the UP's "strategic plan for Academic Excellence and Internationalization."

"Please review and evaluate the said proposal and submit yur comments and suggestions ... on or before 15 August 2013. It is highly recommended for you to conduct unit-wide consultation on this proposal," Cruz said in his memorandum to vice chancellors, deans, directors and department heads.

The policy proposal seeks to change the academic calendar to synchronize with univeristy's major global academic partners, from June-to-March to August-to-May.

Such a proposal seeks to fulfill UP's charter to be a "regional and global university, and addresses current developments in the region and the world."

According to the policy proposal, the world's educational systems have globalized, with universities having greater collaboration via university networks and joint offerings of curricular programs and research.

It added that the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is working on the harmonization and standardization of the ASEAN Universities Network ahead of the ASEAN economic integration in 2015.

"However, one of the challenges of AUN in facilitating student and staff mobility is harmonizing the academic calendar of the different AUN member universities," it said.

It added that most AUN member universities as well as universities in China, Korea, Japan, the European Union and the US start classes between August and October, with only the Philippines starting its academic calendar in June.

Because of this, UP students sent to AUN member universities under the ASEAN Credit Transfer System (AUN-ACTS) "must ensure they get courses for a full 10 months or two semesters."

Those who choose to cross-enroll during the second term will have to wait until January for classes to begin, it added.

Advantages

The proposal said that moving the start of classes to August will allow greater synchronization of the Philippine academic calendar with those of ASEAN, Northeast Asian (China and Korea) and the American and European universities.

Synchronization will also allow UP faculty to participate in many training programs and summer institutes in June and July.

Also, a shift in the academic calendar will extend classes to April-May where there is less disruption of classes due to inclement weather.

Impact and concerns

However, the proposal admitted that if the shift is approved, the UP should readjust its schedule to preserve its traditions such as the Lantern Parade and other Christmas activities.

UP must also enhance internationalization by making arrangements with the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education.

Also, UP said it must make representations with the Professional Regulations Commission to change the schedule of professional licensure examinations to accommodate UP graduates who will not get their diplomas until May.

Implementation plan

Under the proposed schedule shift, UP is considering a shift from a June-to-March schedule to August-to-May, upon approval of the Board of Regents—but not later than 2015.

If approved, the shift will apply to all academic programs, undergraduate and graduate.

The proposed generic academic calendar will have registration on the second week of August, start of classes on Aug. 3, end of classes in the first week of December.

Registration for the second semester starts second week of January, and classes start third week of January until the second week of May.

Summer class registration starts in the second week of June, and classes start in the third week of June and end in the third week of July. — BM, GMA News
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