Since the University’s announcement regarding the opening of the Senior High School (SHS) last September, interested students have applied to grab the opportunity to study at the Manila campus. With yet another milestone, DLSU continues to prepare for the welcoming of the new batch of Lasallians when the Senior High School’s opens officially on June 1st.
During the SHS orientation program last December 5, Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda shared that the University looks at the K-12 as an opportunity to take back the lead the University used to have decades ago, to keep up and match with the quality of education other universities from Asia offer. Moreover, other universities and colleges in the country have already started offering Senior High School. According to Dr. Roleda, it has dawned on the University administration that the competition for acquiring bright, capable students already starts with Grade 11 and no longer in first year college.
The testing date for SHS applicants is on February 21. Because of the significantly lower number of applicants this year, this is the only testing date, with the Manila campus being the only testing center. Applicants coming outside of Metro Manila will also have to go to the Manila campus to take the exam, as opposed to previous application processes, where several testing centers were set up in different provinces. However, Dr. Roleda comments, “There [are requests to open testing centers] from the Middle East, from Dubai, and we are negotiating for that.”
On the concern of students who may not be able to reach the minimum grade requirement for admission to the University after completion of SHS, Dr. Roleda explains, “Naturally, there will be cut off grades for each [undergraduate degree] program. If the cut off is not reached, the students can take another exam, which will be totally different and this time, a college-level test. Not meeting the cut off grades does not disqualify them from entering college. They will have their second chance.”
In a Town Hall meeting last September 24, a time when the DLSU Senior High’s implementation still hung on the balance, Dr. Roleda expressed a few problems such as where the SHS would be located, as well as the issue of possible student congestion on campus. A month later, through a help desk announcement, the University confirmed that it would be accepting applicants for SHS.
In an interview with The LaSallian, Dr. Roleda explains how the University plans to respond to the aforementioned possible problems due to the arrival of the SHS.
The SHS would be located at the St. La Salle Hall, commonly known as LS, which currently houses classes for the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB). “We [wanted] to put [SHS] in a single place so that [the senior high students] wouldn’t be too spread out and separated, so we identified the LS [building] as the ideal site,” explains Dr. Roleda.
According to Dr. Roleda, the administration is targeting to offer 15 sections per batch for Grades 11 and 12, amounting to 30 sections or 30 classrooms overall for SHS. “Since COB is currently using the [LS building], in the coming years we will have to re-assign and relocate the classrooms,” Roleda describes.
Regarding possible congestion inside the University, Roleda counters that the student population next academic year (AY) will certainly decrease. As projected, a conservative estimate of 400 freshmen will be enrolling next AY, from the 3,000 applicants DLSU received this year. In contrast, the University has received as much as 26,000 applications in previous years, Dr. Roleda illustrates. Furthermore, he says that the University usually takes in around 3,500 freshmen every year, and because there would only be 600 SHS students to be accepted, evidently, there will be a significant reduction in the number of students on campus.
Difference of the SHS system
Given that the SHS will also follow a trimestral system similar to the University’s undergraduate programs, the pacing of academic instruction will be affected, such that subjects to be taken up per term will be less, compared to the ones being taken up in a semestral setting. According to Dr. Roleda, the placement of prerequisites in the curriculum will be strategic in terms of helping students to actually take up the prerequisites completely before proceeding with the next subject. This way, the possibility of having to take up the prerequisite and next subject at the same time will be avoided.
According to him, there will be a load of approximately 30 subjects for the whole curriculum, which he says will allow for students to take up a lighter load per term as compared to a semestral system. The academic load of the students’ subjects will amount to around 16 units, a few units lighter than a normal load of 18 units in order to allot students more time for studying and co-curricular activities.
Dr. Roleda also addresses the concern of the teachers who will have a teaching load for SHS. “The faculty to be assigned to teach the SHS classes will be college faculty of the University,” he clarifies. “In this way, the subjects will be taught at college level.”
When asked about the possible interaction of SHS and college students and how it will affect schedules and activities, Dr. Roleda answers that it remains to be a matter of coordination. One possibility may be the creation of junior versions of student organizations, he shares. “We try to give the [SHS students] as much college experience as we can. Kaya nga walang uniform and all those things. Those who are attending SHS are actually of the same age as those who are entering college next year. So there’s no reason why we should not give them the same [college] experience.”
Changes in the college curriculum
When asked about how the SHS system will affect the college curriculum, Dr. Roleda explains that the number of years in college will possibly change. “There are some programs, like those in the Liberal Arts, that are less strict when it comes to admission abroad, so I think the three years of college can still be shortened,” he explains.
However, Dr. Roleda states that some limitations need to be considered as well, including the global standard of 12 years of education. “Considering that our students will want to apply for higher education abroad but need a minimum of 12 years of studying, they cannot pursue such intention due to the lack of years. Also, in many countries, in order to pursue a master’s degree, a requirement of at least 16 years of education must be met, so the 4 years of college is still needed,” he elaborates.
Dr. Roleda also comments on the possible structure of the 2018 curriculum and shares that it has not been finalized. Currently, the administration is still waiting for the release of the Commission for Higher Education (CHED) Philippine Standard Geographic Code, which will include standards, policies, and guidelines of CHED. However, Dr. Roleda is hopeful in saying that the administration will hopefully have at least “a preliminary version of our new curriculum” by the end of this AY.