In a recent meeting with the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), USC’s administration has decided to make a shift in its academic calendar, following other local universities such as UP and La Salle in doing so. At present, this shift seems to be a growing trend in our country’s tertiary education, but is it truly necessary? What benefits can universities such as ours gain by doing so?
With around 70% of the universities in the world following the same calendar, it is not very hard to fathom why major universities in the country are slowly adopting it. Collaboration and partnership amongst universities worldwide are keys to better performance and higher prestige. From that perspective, having uniform academic timelines would therefore be very beneficial. Despite this rationale, however, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) still holds an opposing view on the matter. According to CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, the best way to internationalize or engage with the global academic community is for higher education institutions to intensify their quality assurance, capacity-building and institutional development programs.
With regards to the matter, USC’s Supreme Student Council stands with the change. Collectively, they consider the calendar shift as beneficial, stating that opportunities and partnerships such as exchange programs for top students and research ventures for faculty will be easier to do. In terms of tangible change, the transition period will leave a vacuum of four months, or two months for those who have summer classes, but will not produce any other significant changes.
The alignment of a university’s academic calendar with the international majority is largely beneficial but certain standards, quality checks and policies have to be amended and established beforehand. Simply put, unless the institution is a well-established and competent one, a calendar shift would be irrelevant, or even detrimental. Another point to consider is the country’s climate. We only have wet and dry seasons, and moving the calendar forward to miss the brunt of the former would put us under the glare of the latter. Not all universities have the luxury of air-conditioned classrooms and even then, the general weather would still be hard especially in heavily urbanized areas. This should be thoroughly considered by any institution planning to align their academic calendars with majority of the world.
In conclusion, while the calendar shift may generally be beneficial for major universities in the country, it is unlikely that minor ones will be doing the same in the near future. From a loyalist’s perspective, we Carolinians should take this shift as a testament to our university’s competence and international relevance.