PETITION FOR ACADEMIC POSTPONEMENT
PETITION FOR ACADEMIC POSTPONEMENT
On July 29, the UP Board of Regents will convene to finalize the academic plans and preparations for the upcoming academic year. Prior to this, the UP Office of the Student Regent has announced that the proposed opening of the classes will be on September 13, 2021. Despite the lack of consultation and assessment of a year of online learning, the Board seems to be certain with the date of the opening of classes. At this pace, we cannot deny the fact that we are to venture into another academic year that is unprepared.
The forced resumption of classes last AY 2020-2021 has shown that a lot of students struggle with the lack of learning resources and internet access. In just one month under the online setup, students expressed that the academic load per course has been exhausting and excessive. For most parts of the academic year, students were forced to face these problems without concrete support from the UP administration.
Based on the survey that was conducted by the UPLB University Student Council, 812 out of 985 students expressed that the second semester of AY 2020-2021 was more difficult than the first semester. Consequently, almost 14% of the total number of students had dropped at least one course during the second semester alone. Among their many reasons, the plurality felt that the semester had too much workload. Some students also expressed that they felt disoriented despite the academic guidelines that were released by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This is no surprise since most of these policies fail to genuinely address the students’ concerns and were mere band-aid solutions to the problems.
The conditions that we have serve as a basis for us to call for an academic postponement to give the UP administration more time to plan for the upcoming academic year. This will also allow them to focus on addressing the students’ and faculties' demands for a better and more inclusive learning. Given this, we, the UPLB students, demand that the UP Administration heed the 10-point demands for academic postponement:
- Conduct an assessment of the whole academic year 2020-2021;
- Concrete guidelines for the conduct of the upcoming semester;
- Implement a genuine academic ease for as long as the semester is under remote learning;
- Implement a genuine wellness break where no requirements or submissions are to be given during and a week after the reading break;
- Waive the collection of tuition and other school fees;
- Provide better services to students, especially those who applied for the Student Learning Assistance System and those who have scholarship grants;
- Provide gadget and internet assistance for both teaching and non-teaching staff;
- Make necessary recalibration of course curriculum to ensure that it is suitable for online learning;
- Uphold democratic rights and student representation; and
- Push for the gradual reopening of universities and for the use of campus facilities.
As Iskolars ng Bayan, we must always thrive for honor and excellence. However, in our current situation, students are being left behind. The students and faculty alike did not choose to endure the problems that they have right now but were rather forced to since the shift to online setup. What our university needs right now is compassion from the administration. The utmost priority of the UP administration should be the welfare of all of its constituents and not the resumption of classes for the sake of continuing.