UP mulls ending sem early as Ateneo readies for post-COVID-19 school year
The University of the Philippines' Oblation Statue
BY-NC-ND/Butch Dalisay
UP mulls ending sem early as Ateneo readies for post-COVID-19 school year
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - April 14, 2020 - 7:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines has not yet reached a decision on whether to extend, terminate, or continue its current semester through online classes, but university officials on Tuesday released their recommendation to the school’s Board of Regents to end the semester on April 30.

The university's Presidential Advisory Council comprised of the UP System Executive Committee and chancellors of all UP units proposed to the Board of Regents — the highest decision-making body — to end the current semester early on April 30 "to reduce the growing anxiety of students and faculty...and enable their COVID-related engagements."

The committee, however, did not heed students' calls for mass promotion and instead recommended to postpone grades for the current semester.

RELATED: Students urge termination of current semester, suspension of online classes
 





"Since there is no sufficient basis for assessing students, they will be given a 'deferred grade.' None of the students will fail the course provided they meet the requirements," read the policy recommendation released Tuesday.

This is in contrast to Ateneo de Manila University’s approach, where qualified graduating students are cleared for graduation while eligible non-graduating students will receive passing grades and will be promoted to the next school year automatically.

RELATED: Ateneo praised for decision to pass students and give tuition fee refunds

Moreover, UP students whose grades will be deferred would still need to accomplish their course requirements by May 31, 2021, if the measure is enacted by the Board of Regents.

"Should they be unable to do so, students have the option to drop and re-enroll the course in the succeeding semester."

Students would be assessed with a "pass" or "DRP" (dropped) grading scheme but faculty have the option to indicate the verbal equivalent of numerical grades, i.e. Excellent (1.0-1.25).

Even with deferred marks in prerequisite subjects, students would still be able to enroll in higher-level courses.

University faculty would also be mandated to offer “bridging programs to enable the student to catch up with the course in the First Semester 2020-2021.”

"While UP is ending the semester for all students, graduating students as well as those meeting personal time tables...may opt to complete the requirements of the semester following the adjusted syllabus and the deadlines set by his or her Constituent University."

‘Growing anxiety’

The proposed measure has since been met with criticism from UP students for, among other reasons, the year-long gap between the recommended end of the current semester (Apr. 30, 2020) and the deadline of course requirements (May 31, 2021) which is said to “complicate” the succeeding academic year.

“Then I guess the sem won't really end by Apr 30, 2020 if we still need to pass our requirements for this sem by May 2021. Having said that, we'll be having heavier workloads during the next AY 'cause we'll be finishing two sems worth of acad requirements,” wrote former UP Student Regent Shari Oliquino.
 

Ateneo’s alternative

Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University is already focusing on its plans for the incoming school year after its decision to mass promote students.

In a memorandum issued last week, Fr Jose Ramon Villarin SJ, university president, instructed Ateneo's units (Basic Education, Loyola Schools, and Professional Schools) to work on contigency plans for the 2020-2021 academic term.

Matters to be deliberated include "calendar adjustments, decision on assessments and grades, refunds, and other salient matters in consideration of their specific contexts.”.

“It would be good to consider early enough the possible scenarios and implications of this current global health crisis on scheduled activities, academic procedures, calendar format, work operations, and other important aspects of our educational mission,” Villarin said in the memo.

“I enjoin everyone to maintain flexibility and leniency while being reasonable and compassionate in the exercise of our responsibilities.”

ADMU ATENEO ATENEO DE MANILA UNI­VER­SITY ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE LUZON ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARANTINE LUZON LOCKDOWN NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES UP
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