Wednesday, March 5, 2014

UP's Academic Calendar to Shift in 2014-2015

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There is a proposal to shift the University of the Philippines' academic calendar starting in academic year 2014-15 in the following constituent units (CUs): UP Los BaƱos, UP Manila, UP Visayas, UP Open University, UP Mindanao, UP Baguio, and UP Cebu.

These seven CUs have already obtained the agreement of their constituents for the calendar change and have prepared their respective 2014-15 academic calendars that all start in August 2014. They are now seeking approval by the Board of Regents of their proposed new calendars.

UP Diliman, which accounts for about 45% of the University's students and faculty, is still going through the process of assessing the pros and cons of the calendar shift and ascertaining the general preference of its constituents.

The academic calendar will be shifted by two months as follows:

SHORT TERM: FROM May – Jun TO Jun – Jul

Rationale for the calendar shift

A key strategic initiative of UP is to intensify its internationalization. This initiative is aimed at fulfilling UP's mandate to serve as a regional and global university as well as to realize its vision of taking a leadership role in developing a globally competitive Philippines. A change that will synchronize UP's academic calendar with the major universities in ASEAN and in the rest of the world will provide a clear signal that UP is now internationalizing and is getting ready to fully engage universities in the country's trading partners.

An internationalized UP will be in a better position to produce Filipino graduates who are internationally oriented and have the competence to assume leadership roles not only in the Philippines, as the country competes globally, but also in the region which will become an integrated ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

To be sure, calendar synchronization is not a sufficient condition for internationalizing UP. The University is pursuing, as it must, other initiatives (e.g., faculty development, quality assurance, programs streamlining, credit transfer arrangements, infrastructure modernization, etc.) to strengthen its program offerings and make it internationally competitive.

But a synchronized academic calendar is necessary to facilitate internationalization. By minimizing the gap in the start and end of its semesters relative to its partners, UP will have the opportunity to increase student and faculty mobility (inbound and outbound), facilitate academic exchanges, and ease research collaborations and inter-cultural projects with ASEAN and other foreign universities. The interactions of UP students and faculty with their foreign counterparts will broaden their knowledge and perspectives, and deepen their understanding of important socio-cultural, political, economic, technological and developmental issues in the region and the world.

Rationale for the pilot implementation

The pilot implementation in the seven (7) CUs starting in AY 2014-15 will enable the University to make the necessary adjustments and resolve operational issues and concerns prior to full implementation possibly in AY 2015-16, the start of ASEAN integration. The experience of UP with the pilot shift will also inform other universities in the country which are also planning to shift their academic calendar. To reiterate, the said CUs have already obtained the agreement of their constituents for the calendar change and have prepared their respective 2014-15 academic calendars that all start in August 2014.

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