By Nacho Domingo
With the implementation of the Student Academic Information System (SAIS) in UP Diliman potentially taking place next school year, student leaders and professors berated eUP for its “privatization of education, anomalous processes that betrayed public trust, and anti-student nature” in a forum held Sept. 20.
In a talk entitled “System Breakdown: A forum on the eUP and neoliberal attacks on education” conducted in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Melchor Hall Theater, three different student leaders and a professor delivered messages of condemnation of University President Alfredo Pascual’s P750-million project.
University Student Council (USC) Councilor and Computer Engineering major Arvin Alba pointed out how eUP and its comprising five separate information systems (IS) have already consumed an accumulated P793 million as of June 2016.
“50 million pesos din yan,” Alba said on the seven percent of the budget allotted for furniture. “[Tapos] malaking portion din niyan, mga 2 to 3 million pesos ang ginastos para sa mga sofa, cabinet at iba pa na hindi naman directly related doon sa eUP project,” he said.
Alba added how SAIS had already used up P44 million in three years, P11 million more than the previous legacy systems’ expense for their entire lifespan.
“Dahil lang doon sa simpleng bagay na nakikipagpapartner [ang UP administration] sa ePLDT para sa proyekto na ito, yung mga gastos natin ay lumalaki at dumadami, at patungo siya doon sa mga companies na naging partner ng eUP project,” Alba said.
The speakers were united in their call to discontinue the implementation of SAIS, a supposed upgrade from the Computerized Registration System (CRS) that the university currently employs.
Meanwhile, UP Manila Computer Science major and Agham Youth member Princess Florendo highlighted the flaws of the system.
Florendo explained how SAIS was the host of several user interface problems in the form of unnecessary white spaces with no function and several glitches, most notably inaccurate tuition calculation. She pointed out how the assigned days for certain batches during enlistment were not followed, which led to several students’ inability to attain units.
“We call on the junking of SAIS and eUP and develop our homegrown systems,” said Florendo.
SAIS has been operational in UP Manila since 2013.
“SAIS is not what we need,” Florendo said. “There is no perfect system, but we don’t need a system that is based on profit.”
Alba cited the poor results achieved by the system’s implementation in UP Los Baños. Of the students who used SAIS for enlistment for the first semester of this academic year, only eight percent were able to receive 21 units or more, while the largest 37 percent received no units at all.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ramon Guillermo, UP Filipino professor and member of Congress Of Teachers And Educators For Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND), described how eUP requires 20 mouse clicks to do what used to be possible with two mouse clicks, further substantiating the systems’ lack of quality.
Although the scheduled implementation of SAIS in UP Diliman is scheduled to take place during the first semester of the Academic Year 2017-2018, the speakers made it clear how they believe that collective action from the UP community through continued rallies and forums can still bring about the discontinuation of the project.
“Kung tayong lahat ay naninindigan para mapabasura ang eUP Project, wala na rin namang magagawa si [President Pascual] kundi ipabasura ito,” said Alba.