End The Semester! Mass Promotion Now!

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In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that our education is derailed due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). The conditions we have right now serve as a basis to say that the present is not a conducive time to resume classes and submit requirements, as if there isn't ongoing health and economic crisis in our country.

In line with this, multiple students and even a number of faculty members have called to end the 2nd Semester A.Y. 2019-2020 and implement a mass promotion to all students, regardless of their academic status in the said semester. Concerns regarding the call have been forwarded to the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), which is composed of the UP System Executive Committee and the Chancellors of Constituent Universities. However, today, the PAC forwarded recommendations for the approval of the Board of Regents (BOR). The recommendations are as follows:

1. The University shall end the Second Semester on 30 April 2020  to reduce the growing anxiety of students and faculty on one hand, and enable their COVID-related engagements, on the other hand,

a. Since there is no sufficient basis for assessing students, they will be given a “Deferred Grade”. None of the students will fail the course provided they meet the requirements.

b. Students have up to 31 May 2021 to complete the course requirements.

Should they be unable to do so, students have the option to drop and re-enroll the course in the succeeding semester. The grading scheme for the classes taken in the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 is as follows:

Pass [Optionally,  the faculty may  indicate the adjectival  equivalent of the numerical  grade in the Remarks column of  the grading sheet, i.e., Excellent (1.0-1.25), Very Good (1.5-1.75), Good (2.0-2.25).]

DRP (Dropped)

c.    A student who enrolled in a course in the Second Semester  AY 2019-2020 that is a  prerequisite to another, shall be allowed to enroll in the latter course for credit, despite having a ‘Deferred Grade”  for the prerequisite course. The department/institute/unit shall offer bridging programs to enable the student to catch up with the course in the First Semester 2020-2021.

d.   For Second Semester AY 2019-2020 classes for which the faculty is adjusting further  the requirements of the course, the faculty concerned and or the department/institute/unit  will reach to the students in the class for the requirements and means to meet them;

e.   Adjusted requirements for the completion of the course must have been communicated to students by 1 May 2020.

2.   While  UP is ending the semester for all students, graduating students as well as those meeting personal timetables—e.g.,    students who need to graduate in a succeeding semester to begin earning for their families, those applying for graduate admissions,  those on scholarships, etc. may opt to complete the requirements of the semester following the adjusted syllabus and the deadlines set by his or her Constituent University.

3.   The University is also waiving academic rules as well as policies on scholastic standing and student financial assistance.

DROPPING OF SUBJECTS
The  deadline  for dropping  of subjects for  the Second Semester  AY 2019-2020 is lifted.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE
The deadline for filing of Leave of Absence for the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 is lifted.

MAXIMUM RESIDENCE
Residence  for the Second  Semester AY 2019-2020  shall not be included in  the reckoning or in the counting of years of residence of a student.

PREREQUISITES TO COURSES
As stated above

REMOVAL OF INC
A student who incurred an INC during the Second Semester  AY 2018-2019 shall be allowed to remove the INC until First Semester AY 2020-2021.

REMOVAL OF 4.0
A  student  who incurred  a 4.0 during the  Second Semester AY 2018-2019  shall be allowed to remove the 4.0 until First Semester AY 2020-2021.

RULES ON SCHOLASTIC STANDING
The  following  rules on scholastic  standing (delinquency)  are suspended for the

Second Semester AY 2019-2020:
a. Warning
b. Probation
c. Dismissal
d. Permanent Disqualification

STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Policies  on student financial assistance which are tied to scholastic standing are suspended.

4. The University shall endeavor to adopt alternative modes of instruction, requirements and assessment methods that are consistent with its mandate as the National  University committed to honor and excellence and that equally take the extreme conditions confronting our students and faculty into account.

With these recommendations, the Rise for Education Alliance - UP Diliman deems them as well-meaning, however, they are short-sighted, especially in the context of the students' situation. Initially, the students have asserted to stop the facilitation of online classes and the submission of requirements during the duration of the ECQ due to multiple physical, psychological, and economic factors. Due to the same factors, the students have called for the ending of the semester and the implementation of mass promotion. Even the data from the UPD University Student Council's survey on remote learning states that many students' areas of residency are not conducive for learning. Therefore, the PAC must stand true to its recommendation to end the semester by also terminating all academic requirements and residual obligations.

We find it unnecessary to impose requirements for conditional passing (Recommendations 1a and 1b), given that supplementary bridging programs are also recommended (Recommendation 1c). We see that the implementation of a mass promotion for all students is the best option, rather than doubling the academic workload that the students will be facing once it is conducive to do so.

With mass promotion, a grade of “P” or pass for all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2nd Semester A.Y. 2019-2020 must be given for their enrolled units. 

  • No numerical grade can properly reflect and evaluate the performance of students given that only less than half of the semester has been covered.
  • Allowing fail (5.0) or DRP grades in the situation where the semester is terminated, would be an injustice to students who are consequently deprived of sufficient time and means to recover their academic performance.
  • Pursuing continuation of the semester or settling for prolonged postponement would unfairly disadvantage many students from completing academic requirements
  • For graduating students, special consideration should be given in adjusting the parameters of their terminal requirement(s) including its submission and evaluation. 

Consequently, we also call for the following: 

  • Provide various accessible alternative learning channels to compensate for discontinued formal learning, during and after the lockdown. 
  • Make necessary corresponding curriculum, syllabus and academic calendar adjustments for the succeeding semesters to ensure that quality / adequate education will be given to students.
  • Implement a transitory period for thorough crisis planning that also allows additional time for affected students to become economically, physically and mentally capable of resuming physical classes.
  • Uphold honor and excellence beyond the classroom! Devote all university resources and efforts with the discontinuation of the semester to the fight against the pandemic and in service to the Filipino people

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened and exposed the anti-people character of neoliberal policies worldwide. The University of the Philippines must, therefore, look beyond the false idea that the basis and goal of education is the production of quantifiable output. We oppose this dehumanizing commercialization of education, students, and teachers.

UP can only truly fulfill its honor and excellence mantra by heeding the democratic demands of its constituents—demands brought about by the dire situation that the negligent Duterte regime plunged us into. Through collective assertion, the Filipino people have successfully pressured units of the government to heed its call. The Iskolar ng Bayan, ever rooted in the people, shall continue to do so until such time that the systems causing this global crisis are overhauled. We will continue to fight for our right to education, healthcare, and socio-economic support.

This petition will be forwarded to the Office of the Student Regent in hopes that the Board of Regents will consider our propositions considering the current public health crisis.

END THE SEMESTER!
NO TO ONLINE CLASSES!
MASS PROMOTION NOW!