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Baguio universities adopt new academic calendar

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Two big universities here have applied for an academic calendar shift by opening classes in August following top universities in Metro Manila.

Saint Louis University (SLU) and the University of Baguio (UB) will be joining University of the Philippines (UP)-Baguio as the three universities in the city will now open their classes on August, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) regional office.

CHED-Cordillera education supervisor and information officer Dr. Mariano Marchan said both SLU and UB are universities with autonomous status, which means they have the prerogative to change their academic calendar as long as it is in consonance with Republic Act 7797 Section 3 which states that the school year shall start in the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

Both schools, according to Marchan, have applied for an academic calendar shift but the decision for the move will still be evaluated by a Technical Working Group formed by CHED.

The change in academic calendar schedule is also in consonance with Republic Act 7722 which provides leeway for some HEIs to establish their own academic calendar, he added.

Marchan stressed as long as the autonomous universities continue to maintain a good quality of education, inform CHED by applying at least a month before the planned opening of classes, and maintain their average 54 hours average contact hours for every semester,  they can change their class opening.

Both schools, according to Marchan, cited the importance of having their graduates able to compete globally in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations integration by 2015.

SLU has more than 30,000 students from elementary to college while UB has some 15,000 students from the elementary to tertiary levels. UP-Baguio, meantime, has 6,000 students.

SLU and UB will be the second and third universities to implement a shift in the opening of classes in August after UP-Baguio announced its move of class opening last February together with other UP system schools in the country.

In an official announcement from SLU last week, university president Fr. Jessie Hechanova said the decision for an academic calendar shift “came after careful consideration of existing laws, thorough reflection and study, series of meetings, and due consultations with internal stakeholders as well as external partners.”

The Board of Trustees of SLU-Baguio City, in its March 22 Board Meeting, approved to adopt the August-July academic calendar in all levels, including the Laboratory Elementary and High Schools, effective academic year 2014-2015, and has duly informed the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education of the said decision.

Both schools will be having an August to December first semester, January to May second semester, and June to July as summer term.

Meantime, University of the Cordilleras, another big university with more than 20,000 students in the city, has not announced its move for an academic calendar shift as it maintains its trimestral academic calendar which gives students the ability to finish their courses in three years.

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