UP classes have started, but group asks for postponement

A group of students and teachers asked the University of the Philippines (UP) to move the start of the new semester even if it has officially started last week.

Rise for Education Alliance – UP Diliman (R4E-UPD) said it sent the university administration a petition for a “consultative, proactive, pro-UP academic roadmap of AY 2021-2022” and “recalibration of the academic calendar,” among other demands.

“A significant number of UP students, faculty, and staff are facing challenges that affect their readiness for the semester. These challenges exist because UP itself is not ready,” University Student Council officer Ken Palomia said in a statement.

The alliance said the petition was signed by more than 4,000 individuals and was sent to the offices of UP’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The group said students, faculty and staff faced numerous challenges before the start of the semester, including limited class slots for enrolees.

The situation forced students to compete for slots, many of them starting the semester with an “underload.” Many students also underwent a long and tedious waitlist process with no guarantee of getting the slots and units they need, R4E-UPD explained.

Some students have yet to acquire online accounts and the university’s official electronic mail service, the group added.

“These difficulties are mainly caused by the numerous budget cuts, especially in the middle of the pandemic, combined with the demands of remote learning,” R4E-UPD co-convenor Tie Santos said.

The Rodrigo Duterte government has proposed a P1.3 billion budget cut for the UP System for 2022. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)