Amid the different universities in the Philippines, DLSU diversifies itself through developing a culture of its own—what many call the “Lasallian culture.” Having said that, one of the things that La Salle has been known for is its regular class days from Monday to Thursday.
To date, the goals and objectives of the University all aspire to the growth of its students into being Lasallian achievers for God and country. Together with the student representatives, all information disseminated to the public aims to contribute to the students’ welfare. A proposal that wishes to parallel this is the recent case of changing the University Break, or U Break, from Friday into Monday instead.
Chancellor Dr. Robert Roleda convened the Lasallian community in a townhall meeting last October 6 to discuss the possible shift of the regular class day scheme into the proposed Tuesday to Friday schedule.
The USG, then conducted a survey to collate the students’ response to the proposal. It showed that majority of the respondents opposed the shift for reasons such as lessened personal or family time, issues for extra-curricular events, and increased inconvenience for commuters.
The LaSallian also conducted a poll through its Twitter account to roughly gauge how the student body feels about moving the U Break. In the poll that was conducted last October 6, 2,694 people voted, with 81 percent voting against it, compared to just 19 percent voting in favor of it.
Looking at these results, it is apparent that majority of the student body are not in favor of the shift. If the school decides to push through with the move, it is clear that the voice and opinion of the Lasallian student body is not one the school administration really cares much for.
Proposals of changing class schedules are nothing new. From A.Y. 2007-2008 when DLSU adopted a four-day schedule from a five-day shift to A.Y. 2011-2012 when the University integrated a six-day learning scheme and a U Break on Wednesday afternoons, the common denominator of these entail the students’ clamor regarding the issue. It strengthened the call meant for the whole administration to see that maintaining the four-day class scheme works the best with the students for it does not compromise the duties they fulfill as students.
The A.Y. 2011-2012 proposal was refuted due to the active opposition of the students from having their U Breaks during Wednesday afternoons. The students’ defiance grew stronger because of the high rate of opposing responses and student media groups emphasizing the students’ resistance, and was eventually heard by the administration thus the U Break proposal’s demise. To conclude, the administration is greatly affected of the depth of the students’ voices altogether.
Weighing the options
During the townhall meeting, the administration viewed the proposed U Break as a means to reduce the effect of class suspensions and holidays for a term. Statistics suggest that Monday class suspensions are more prevalent compared to Friday suspensions, thus making it a rationale to move the U Break. Also, moving the break from Friday to Monday would eliminate “Happy Thursday” altogether.
However, the cons of changing the class schedule may be one too many. Among them is the transportation dilemma that a student encounters from daytime until nighttime. Fridays are usually the worst days for a commute, especially on payday weekends, due to traffic congestion in selected areas such as Makati and other business districts.
Furthermore, the organizers behind the University’s extracurricular activities will shoulder the cost of moving the U Break to Mondays. Two-day organizational events will find it harder to deliver logistic concerns and fetch participants. As said before, speakers and representatives will be less likely to show up on a Monday compared to a Friday, when their work schedule is usually amenable. Students are also less likely to show up to org-related activities if they are scheduled on a Monday, a day after their supposed family time. Also, having once-a-week classes, which are now on Fridays, will be a bizarre way for a student to start their week instead of at end.
In short, a lot of things concerning a student’s academics, extra-curricular activities, and filial duties will be compromised if the whole DLSU administration approves the proposed U-break system.
Rather than moving the U Break every now and then, the administration should consider other alternatives which will not greatly affect the students and faculty. As the University tries to tackle the problem of having too many Monday suspensions—these occurrences are beyond the reach of the University. Despite the efforts of moving the U Break, it will not be as effective in solving issues, and this is proven by the number of attempts to change the U Break.
It all boils down to one question: Will this change truly be for the better? It is imperative to ascertain whether the schedule change would be more beneficial or actually more disadvantageous to the Lasallian community. Are the records and statistical data enough as the basis for the decision making of this weighty proposal? In addition to the suspension records presented, there are also other forms of data analyses that may serve as grounds to arrive at a guaranteed verdict. Is the administration willing to compromise the students’ University lifestyle? Ultimately, the proposed U Break system will drastically influence and determine every aspect in an individual Lasallian’s life.