DLSU Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda held a University Town Hall Meeting on September 11 at the Verdure, Henry Sy Sr. Hall, where various members of the administration, faculty, and student body were present. Dr. Roleda tackled various issues on the newly proposed academic calendar, lean years, and DLSU’s connectivity projects with high schools.
With the implementation of the K-12 program, various adjustments had to be made among the high school and college levels of education. The town hall meeting was called to hold an open discussion about what possible solutions the University could take in order to avert any major problems arising from the K-12 program.
On the newly proposed academic calendar
In the current academic calendar, the University’s only long break is during the Christmas break, which wouldn’t be an ideal time for practicum, community work, international programs, and research, among others. Dr. Roleda, with his newly proposed academic calendar, suggests that the University can recover its regular long break by having fourth hour activities every week.
These fourth hour activities, according to Dr. Roleda, are not necessarily an additional hour spent for regular classes, but they include alternative activities like tutorials, enrichment classes and lectures prepared by the various academic departments. With this, the University will not need to extend the academic calendar brought about by holidays or class suspensions. The recovery of the regular long break will also be possible.
The professors, however, will not be getting additional pays for the fourth hour activities due to the upcoming “lean years” of the University. Dr. Roleda proposed that the fourth hour activities will be credited to the professors’ 10-hour consultation requirement.
In Dr. Roleda’s proposal, the use of fourth hour activities will open up a long break that would last from April 17 to May 22, which he stated would be enough for various activities, like practicum. “It’s too late to change the first term calendar, so my proposal really is, let’s implement this [during] second term [of] this academic year.” He added, “another possibility is to have the long break during August, because that’s the break during academic calendars.”
DLSU’s lean years
The lean years refer to AY 2016-2017 and AY 2017-2018, when colleges will experience a drastic drop in freshmen admissions due to the K-12 program, which added two years to the 10-year basic education. These years may also cause a corresponding drop in the teaching loads of professors.
Dr. Roleda shared an example, stating that for the University of the Philippines, the number of freshmen applicants every year would usually reach 80,000. However, this year the university only received 6,000 applicants.
Some of the solutions being discussed include the automatic admission of freshmen, scholarships for professors, development grants, and offering of Senior High School (SHS) in DLSU, among others. Dr. Roleda shared that as of now the University is open for more creative solutions to address this issue.
The goal of DLSU’s connectivity projects is to have a seamless integration of the SHS and college curricula. According to Dr. Roleda, the University is currently coordinating with La Salle Green Hills, De La Salle Zobel, and De La Salle University Integrated School for such schools to become the University’s SHS. Once the students finish SHS in these schools, they can automatically be admitted to DLSU.
“If we do this of course there is a quality aspect we have to look at. Can we simply take these SHS students to DLSU without diminishing the quality of our intake? We can do that by getting engaged in these high schools ourselves,” Dr. Roleda explained.
One of the ways the University plans to get involved in these high schools is by asssisting in their course design and by offering trainings and seminars for their teachers. For DLSU professors who have minimal teaching loads, they can decide to teach in these high schools.
“By doing that, we also ensure that the quality of [SHS] teaching in that school is of the right level. We should also get involved in the assessment of those schools,” Dr. Roleda added.
As of press time, the proposed academic calendar, initiatives for the lean years, and connectivity projects with high schools are still undergoing revisions and consultations with various sectors of the University.
On September 25, the University will have another Town Hall Meeting, which will focus on the the K-12 program.