By Yvette Morales
Updated and corrected Feb. 11, 5:45 p.m.
Apart from practical problems raised by the UP community, a professor addressed what seemed to be the root of the fuss regarding the academic calendar change: the lack of discussions among stakeholders.
In a forum held at the National Institute of Physics yesterday, Professor Ramon Guillermo, President of the All UP Academic Employees Union – UP Diliman, said that there is an administrative problem regarding the “rash decision” in changing the academic calendar.
“Nauna yung policy, nauna ‘yung pag-apruba sa Board of Regents (BOR) bago ang mga assessment, bago ang mga pag-aaral (The policy’s approval in the BOR came first before the assessment and further studies),” he said.
The BOR approved on February 6 the policy on the academic calendar shift, applicable on academic year 2014-2015, to all UP units except in its flagship campus, UP Diliman. The new calendar will move the school year from the current June – March to August – May.
The proposed calendar shift was drafted on June last year. It seeks to coincide with the ASEAN Economic Cooperation in 2015.
The UP administration justified the shift as being in compliance with UP’s responsibility of being “a regional and global university in cooperation with international and scientific unions, networks of universities, scholarly and professional associations in the Asia Pacific region and around the world” under Section 3 of Republic Act 9500 or UP Charter of 2008.
Guillermo also cited discrepancies in consultations in other UP units.
He said despite the consultations in UP Manila, questions raised by the faculty were not answered. Nevertheless, voting took place, he added.
“Some questions could be answered by our consultation today. The problem is, it’s a bit too late,” he said.
Guillermo also said the concept of internationalization as an “academic matter” was not discussed, even though the faculty members would be willing to discuss it.
However, UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma said in his welcome remarks the timeline of then proposal in changing the academic calendar, including the issuance of a memorandum ordering colleges to discuss the proposal.
Saloma said the University Council discussed the matter in its 129th meeting last December 2.
Regarding student representation, Saloma said he relied on the local councils for information dissemination.
Yet, University Student Council Vice Chairperson Jules Guiang said the students were surprised by the sudden change.
“Maganda po sana kung nagkaroon ng konsultasyon sa ating mga iskolar ng bayan, na pinakamalaking stakeholders po sa UP community (It would be nice if there was a consultation with students who are the biggest stakeholders of the UP community),” he said. – With reports from Kimberly Villegas