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CHED against changing academic calendar

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Despite the growing number of colleges and universities shifting their school opening, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) continues to advise against changing the academic calendar.

CHED chairperson Patricia Licuanan said yesterday the Commission generally prescribes the June school opening but higher education institutions (HEIs) can adopt a different start for as long as they get the agency’s approval.

“The Commission on Higher Education does not advise a change in the academic calendar,” Licuanan said in a statement. This was the first time the body issued a comprehensive stand on the matter.

She said what is more important is for HEIs to meet the required academic hours within an academic calendar year. 

Licuanan said CHED has studied carefully the reasons cited by proponents such as internationalization, the ASEAN economic integration in 2015, climatic factors, socio-economic and cultural considerations, and synchronization with the Department of Educations’ calendar.  

The CHED has created the high-level Technical Working Group on the Academic Calendar (TWG-AC) to carefully study and provide recommendations on the school calendar shift.

“On internationalization, CHED stands firm in its belief that the best way to internationalize or engage with the global academic community is for HEIs to intensify their quality assurance, capacity-building, and institutional development programs,” Licuanan said.

“Research, in particular, is the currency of the global academic community,” she added.

On ASEAN integration, Licuanan said CHED believes that it is important to think about the issues on the quality of Filipino college or university students and their preparation for the world of work.

 â€œThis is the essence and challenge of ASEAN integration, and the academic calendar is not a major issue.  There is no provision in ASEAN integration about synchronizing academic calendars of HEIs in the region,” she said.

She also said a CHED-Technical Working Group that looked into adapting higher education learning systems to mitigate the impact of climate change has noted that tropical cyclones, in the last 10 years, tend to hit between July and September.

“Indeed, class suspensions due to heavy rains and typhoons tend to spike as well from July through October.  Thus, shifting the start of the academic calendar from June to August would not make much of a difference,” Licuanan said.

She likewise said the issue of the academic calendar has socio-cultural implications.

“There is concern for families, particularly those from farming and fishing communities who would have difficulty with an August school opening because agricultural cycles cause them to run out of financial resources in August, hence a June start is most feasible,” she noted.

 Licuanan added that the June start of most HEI academic calendars is better harmonized with the schedule of classes of basic education.

 â€œDepEd has done an extensive study on this matter and has advised against an August start and an end in the late summer months,” according to Licuanan.




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