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Top universities mull shift to September-June school year

Philippines Universities

Four top universities in the Philippines may shift their academic schedule to synchronize with counterparts in other Southeast Asian nations by 2015.

According to a “24 Oras” report aired Thursday evening, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan announced that the University of the Philippines – Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of Sto. Tomas expressed interest in shifting from a June to March schedule to either an August to May or September to June school year.

The move, lawyer Joel Noel Estrada of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations explained, was proposed so these universities can be synchronized with other member institutions in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“[They can] easily come to us, at tayo rin pwedeng magpadala ng mga studyante, exchange programs, research programs. Pati mga graduates natin and professionals, meron nang mutual recognition. Ibig sabihin, professionals natin dito, professional ‘din sa mga member ASEAN nations,” said Estrada.

UPD submitted a policy proposal in June seeking to change its academic calendar to match the schedule of its global academic partners. The proposal also said shifting schedules will allow both students and faculty to participate in summer training programs around the world in June and July. Classes are also less likely to be interrupted during inclement weather if classes extend to April and May.

Licuanan, however, warned of the effects the shift would have on entrance and license examinations.

“Think about this very carefully. It has repercussions on basic ed. What will we do? You will have students graduating from high school in March, and then wait until August and September? Licensure examinations when you graduate, and then wala ka nang period for review,” said Licuanan.

She added that universities granted autonomy may change their academic schedules without seeking CHED’s approval, though they will have to advise CHED of their plans. Universities without this status will need a directive from CHED before they can adjust their academic calendars.

CHED has created a technical working group was created to study if the shift in academic schedule will truly benefit Filipino students.

The Department of Education will also study the effects shifting the school schedule will have on basic education, especially among graduating high school students.

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