By Yvette Morales

A number of UP professors held a press conference in Vinzons Hall Monday to air their concerns against the controversial academic calendar shift.

They encouraged members of the faculty to vote ‘no’ against the academic calendar shift in the faculty referendum from Feb. 24 to 26.

The speakers wore their sablay to show their objection on the academic calendar change from June-March to August-May.

All regular faculty, namely assistant professors, associate professors and full-time professors that make up the University Council (UC) are qualified to vote, while instructors will instead answer a survey from 8:30am to 4pm. Canvassing will commence on Feb. 27.

The referendum, where professors will be asked about their stance regarding the calendar shift, was pushed by the UP administration despite the UC’s vote against the shift, said Prof. Danilo Arao.

Professor Ramon Guillermo, President of the All UP Academic Employees’ Union, said the change is beyond the adjustment of academic terms.

Guillermo quoted someone from UP Los Baños (UPLB) said: “UP is asking them to put out a marketability assessment of subjects.” This targets subjects that can compete in the Asean University Integration (AUN).

Meanwhile in UP Manila (UPM), Guillermo quoted a memorandum saying, “an urgent review and streamlining of the subjects is undertaken in order to fit the AUN quality assurance standards.”

This will lead to reduction of programs to realign the budget for the more competitive subjects, he added.

However, Guillermo noted the importance of diverse subjects that the university offers, although some are not “marketable.”

“We are not a university which looks primarily upon earnings,” he said.

Student Regent Krista Melgarejo, meanwhile, sat alongside the professors and said there was no apt consultation to the students, despite being the biggest stakeholders in the issue.

Melgarejo said the knowledge of some students on the shift remains on the surface level. As the representative of the student body, she wanted to make sure that students see the “underlying effects” of the shift, noting what Guillermo said on programs.

“[B]iglang malalaman natin na magkakaroon pala ng streamlining ng programs. So, going back to the basic question again, para saan at para kanino ba itong sinasabi nating internationalization ng UP administration? (Suddenly, there’s the streamlining of programs. So, going back to the basic question again, for whom and why are we doing this internationalization?),” she said.
Professor Marivic Raquiza of the National Center for Public Administration and Governance said there are “no thorough studies of possible consequences” regarding the implementation of the new calendar.

She also encouraged the continued discussion of the matter, and asked the UP community not to feel “pressured” by the UP administration.

After the conference, Prof. Clod Yambao posed as the Oblation while the speakers wrote messages of disapproval to the calendar shift on his body.

Among the UP units, Diliman remains as the only campus with the June-March academic schedule. Other UP campuses will start the next school year in August-December for the first term and January-May for the second term, as decided by the Board of Regents in their February 6 meeting.


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