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UP profs: Academic calendar shift won’t internationalize UP

Contrary to the claim of the University of the Philippines’ administration that a shift in the academic calendar will result to better competitiveness in the international market for students, several faculty members said the opposite will be true. 
“May paglilinlang na nangyayari. To connect internationalization and the academic calendar shift is very wrong. They’re treating the shift like a magic formula [to be internationalized] but in reality wala namang connection 'yung dalawa,” Dr. Eduardo C. Tadem of the UP Asian Center said Monday.
Tadem is one of at least a dozen concerned faculty members who protested the proposed shift in the start of the academic calendar, from June to August. They wore Sablays or the UP academic costume to register their dissent in the administration’s decision to change the academic calendar. The faculty’s protest coincided with the start of the three-day UP Diliman Referendum on the proposed shift.
Earlier this month, the UP system—except for UP Diliman—approved proposals to shift their units’ academic calendars to follow the August to May schedule, instead of holding classes from June to March.
In a statement, UP said Manila, Los Baños, Baguio, Visayas, Mindanao, Open University and UP College-Cebu "completed consultations over the past year and have written the Board of Regents (BOR) that they are ready to shift their calendar."
However, members of the University Council questioned the decision saying consultation with all the concerned units was inadequate at best. 
The UP administration has championed the shift as a means to allow students and faculty to go on exchange programs abroad without compromising their schedules within the university. It was also tackled as a way to prepare for the impending ASEAN integration in 2015.
However Dr. Emmanuel S. de Dios of the UP School of Economics countered that the shift will most likely not add any substantial benefits to students, while most certainly making their academic and personal lives more difficult, by virtue of there being school during the punishing summer months.
“Halos walang mawawala sa UP [if we don’t change the academic calendar]. Pero if we do, think of all the costs, not to mention you will have completely disrupted the lives of tens of thousands of UP students and professors. There’s aircon and ventilation problems,” he said.
“This proposed change is not a result of intelligent research kasi ang dami pang kailangang gawin na mas makakatulong for the benefit of UP,” de Dios added.
Dr. Victor Paz of the Archaeological Studies Program also concretized the cost on research of the proposed shift.
“[For a department that does research during the summer months,] we lose out on time for field work. No amount of money can bring summer back, and that’s when we gather our data. When we have no data, we have no research. When we have no research, we have nothing to publish. And no publications mean a lower international school for the university,” Paz said. —KG, GMA News