Not all educators happy with university calendar Shift
Three of the top universities in the Philippines are shifting the start of classes from June to August, and the country’s highest governing body on tertiary education is against the move.
The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) announced yesterday that it does not recommend changing the academic calendar of universities. Their reason is that there are other more pressing concerns than making the shift.
According to statements from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas, they will be shifting their academic calendars from June–March to August–May to prepare for the Philippines’ integration with Asean countries through the 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC).
The new academic calendar is in synch with Asean schools, which the universities said will help make Philippine schools more globally competent.
However, Ched chairperson Patricia Licuanan argued in a position paper that the shift doesn’t necessarily help ‘globalise’ the universities. She added that universities should be more concerned with student quality and meeting international standards, which are the ‘essence of Asean integration.’
Licuanan also pointed out that universities must consider the practical, socio-economic, cultural and health impacts of the shift. Her arguments are that:
- Moving the start of classes to August does not necessarily help schools reduce cancellation of classes due to rains because tropical storms last through October.
- Farming and fishing families may have difficulties sending their children to school in August because the agricultural cycle may ‘cause them to run out of finances in August.’
- There are several long breaks during the summer months, including Holy Week and fiestas.
- A Department of Education study said that heat in the summer months, which could reach 40 degrees Celsius, makes learning difficult.
The chairperson pointed out that the 2015 AEC doesn’t require the synchronising of academic classes, although the Philippine constitution permits universities to shift their calendars.