Friday, 30 August 2013

UP begins discussion on shifting the academic year from June to March to September to May.

The University of the Philippines has made a feasibility study on shifting the PH academic year. It notes more advantages than disadvantages. Later this year it will be presented to the academic community and then to the Commission of Higher Education and the DepEd. It will invite debate, criticism, praise and even ridicule.

The advantage in shifting the start of the higher education in PH academic year from June to September is that  it would be easy for students and professors to be academically mobile, that is they can go for school terms in other countries and still be able to earn credit in their home universities. This will allow PH to meet its treaty obligations with global integration most importantly with ASEAN countries. A seamless integration of academic schedules is believed to enhance the movement of goods, services and expertise.

Support of the shift is premised on the climate pattern in PH. The proposed vacation months of rainy July and August would mean classes won't be suspended due to weather. There are no classes to suspend.

However critics have pointed out that not all parts of the country have this climate pattern and badly planned Metro Manila has more suspensions due to inadequate risk management and climate adaptation. A UP Visayas professor says that Iloilo on average has only two days suspension due to weather during July and August.

Others have noted the possible economic fall out for domestic tourism. With students in school during the fair weather months of April and May, who then will go to the resorts? 

In the end, the academic year is based on people's culture. Historical evidence suggests that the present PH academic calendar was much influenced by the Roman Catholic church calendar. Rizal began his studies in July.

But one thing is certain, this proposal will sure generate a lot of discussion!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sir! Good points for the pro side. I like the idea of a system that's more aligned with the rest of the world. It decreases inefficiencies for students who desire education abroad and at the same time, lessens downtime for foreign students when they study here. It removes barriers for exchanges to occur in the first place.

    On the anti side, I find the argument regarding the drop in tourism to be the most compelling. Resorts in places like Boracay shut down during the off-season because so few come to the island that the fixed costs of maintenance are too great to compensate for their earnings during the rainy season. This is especially relevant since one of the country's main tourist attractions are beaches.

    But then again, this would of course, depend on how large the student body is relative to the entire market. I would like to see studies on this. I suppose that if ever the policy is implemented, the loss of the student body market can be compensated by increasing foreign tourist arrivals in the country. The government would do well to increase its tourism marketing efforts if this happens.