School calendar shift worries CHEdBy Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Starting classes in August instead of June may be within the law, but the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) expressed “concern” should other universities follow suit with the plan of four of the country’s top universities to adjust their school calendar.
The University of the Philippines and Ateneo De Manila University have announced that they will shift to an August to May school calendar, from the current June to March calendar.
Spurred by the upcoming Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) economic integration next year, the country’s top universities have laid plans to synchronize their school calendars with their counterparts in Asean and the region’s partner nations.
CHEd Chair Patricia Licuanan said UP and Ateneo’s plan falls within the parameters of the mandated school calendar or Republic Act No. 7797 which states that “the school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.”
“CHEd allows higher education institutions to change their academic calendars as long as these are in accordance with the law,” she said.
“These changes are motivated by the desire of these institutions to internationalize their programs and the experience of their students and faculty,” Licuanan added.
For UP, the change will take effect in the coming school year 2014-2015. Except for its Diliman campus, UP campuses will start classes in August instead of June.
Ateneo meanwhile will implement the new academic calendar in the next school year 2015-2016.
De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas have also informed CHEd that they plan to revise their school calendar.
“However, CHEd is concerned about the possible implications and impact of these changes should more institutions follow suit. Proper study, consultation and preparation are necessary,” she stressed.
Licuanan said the commission has formed a “high-level” technical working group to carefully study the shift in the academic calendar.