Philippine universities begin shift to international school calendar

The Philippines is the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) still starting its academic year in June. With ASEAN integration in 2015 creating new opportunities to internationalize their campuses and the K-12 education system severely affecting college enrollment in 2016, Philippine institutions are feeling the pressure to shift their academic calendars.
Adamson University will begin the next school year this August, with other Philippine universities and colleges expected to follow suit in moving their academic calendar by 2015, in order to align them with foreign counterparts.

In an interview with GMA News Online, Father Gregorio Bañaga, president of Adamson University, said his school is almost sure of implementing the change this year, to make it easier for students to enroll from overseas institutions.

The move, lawyer Joel Noel Estrada of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations explained, was proposed so that Philippine universities can be synchronized with those in other member institutions within the ASEAN grouping.

Three of the nation’s other top universities are likewise considering the move, according to a “24 Oras” report aired Thursday evening.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan said that the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University have expressed their intent to shift. Those universities are considered autonomous from CHED regulation and can adopt the change without its express approval.
Licuanan, however, warned of the effects the shift would have on entrance and licensure examinations.
CHED has created a technical working group to study if the shift in academic schedule will benefit Filipino students. The Department of Education will also study the effects a new academic calendar will have on basic education, especially among graduating high school students.

In an interview, Education Undersecretary Toni Umali said there is “no compelling reason” for DepEd to change the academic calendar for elementary and high schools, which are not trying to attract foreign students. April and May constitute fiesta season in the Philippines, when families engage in “quality bonding” time.

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