The entry of the first batch of Senior High School (SHS) graduates as ID 118 undergraduate students marked the beginning of the University’s post-K-12 curriculum, otherwise known as RevEd. This was DLSU’s response to the SHS program, which had delegated several foundational college subjects to Grades 11 and 12.

K-12 also saw the introduction of a new set of General Education (GE) courses, which are subjects offered to all DLSU students regardless of the degree program, some of which are mandated by the Commission on Higher Education. Meanwhile, DLSU rolled out the Connect-Ed program, ensuring that its partner schools teach subjects at par with the University’s standards and giving students the benefit to waive these courses upon entering college.

But some students seem to have mistaken GE subjects as foundation courses covered by the program, which led to the confusion that subjects, as students claim, are redundant.

Lack of clarity was one of the common complaints given by students about the program.

Connect-Ed, explained

The structure of the Connect-Ed program consists of a system of mentoring and certification, which it uses to validate whether the level of instruction and assessment in feeder schools—schools that are major sources of undergraduates for the University—is in line with expectations or not.

Currently, the feeder schools that the University has established close ties with include Chiang Kai Shek College, Elizabeth Seton School, Grace Christian College, Jubilee Christian Academy, Makati Hope Christian School, Notre Dame of Greater Manila, Philippine Cultural College, St. Jude Catholic School, St. Peter the Apostle School, St. Scholastica’s College, and St. Stephen’s High School.

Apart from these institutions, DLSU also extends the same exemption opportunity for foundation courses to students who hail from La Salle schools, specifically those from the Manila and Laguna Campuses, De La Salle Santiago-Zobel, and La Salle Green Hills (LSGH).

“Students who are admitted to DLSU will generally be required to take the foundational courses, unless it is assured that these subjects were taken at acceptable standards in senior high school,” Former Chancellor Dr. Robert Roleda wrote in a document obtained by The LaSallian on the Connect-Ed certification program. The said document, which provides an overview of DLSU’s engagement with feeder schools, was prepared during his stint as the Vice Chancellor for Academics (VCA).

Guidelines on the program released by the SHS Engagements Office, meanwhile, only allow students from Connect-Ed schools and the DLSU-Integrated School (DLSU-IS) to credit certain subjects. The document also detailed what SHS subjects are the equivalents of college courses—General Biology 1 and 2 for Basic Biology, Business Math and Business Finance for Basic Financial Math, and Applied Economics for Basic Economics.

Considered as foundational courses, the other subjects listed are General Chemistry 1 and 2, General Physics 1 and 2, General Mathematics, Pre-Calculus 2, Fundamentals of ABM 1 and 2, Statistics and Probability, Principles of Marketing, and Organization and Management. For DLSU-IS graduates, this expands to include Empowerment Technologies 2.

But to have these subjects credited, students must have obtained a grade of at least 85 when they took it. While those who do not meet the cutoff in at least one of the required SHS subjects have the option to take the Lasallian Examination for Advance Placement—otherwise, they need to retake the general foundational course. It is not without its costs, however, as applicants are required to pay a confirmation fee of P10,000 to register for the exam.

Nonetheless, there are exceptions: Accountancy majors cannot credit Fundamentals of ABM 1 and 2, while students in the School of Economics cannot credit the Applied Economics subject.

Setting standards

Even with certain foundational courses in college being transferred to the SHS level, Roleda assured in the certification document that the University will not take the subjects for granted, given that they were traditionally prerequisites to higher level subjects.

Roleda added that students coming from feeder schools also have the chance of being exempted from certain foundational courses, should they meet the requirements through the certification examination of each subject.

The University currently has guidelines in place for mentoring and certifying feeder schools, giving them the option to participate in both mentoring and certification or only the latter. In the first arrangement, DLSU would assign a faculty member to mentor teachers on a specific subject under the program. The faculty would then visit the school five or more times within a semester, during which teachers would be assisted on the handling of class lectures and activities.

If a school wishes to just be certified, the assigned DLSU faculty only needs to visit the school twice during the entire semester: once at the beginning and once at the end. The faculty will make recommendations at the start of the semester, which the school should have addressed by the end of the semester. At this time, the syllabus will be reviewed and the exams and required outputs will be evaluated. Classroom observations, on the other hand, are optional. The certification of subjects is done annually.

Dr. Merlin Suarez, the current VCA, clarifies that the Connect-Ed partnership would only last until Academic Year 2020-2021, with no affirmation on whether or not its partnerships will be renewed.

A rehash of old subjects

Although the certification program was created by the University “to harmonize standards in order to ensure a seamless transition from senior high school to college”, students report that their transition was anything but “seamless”, owing to the lack of clarity on the program’s specifics.

Due to mistaking some of their GE subjects, such as Physical Education and Lasallian Studies, as foundational courses which can be credited, some students balked at retaking them as undergraduates.

Anton Garces (I, ECE2), who completed SHS in LSGH, thought that a few of his subjects were going to be credited due to his school being part of DLSU’s Connect-Ed program. This was not the case, as he shares that he still took the foundational courses during his first term.

Andre Miel (I, MEEMTE) claims that University life during his first term has been nothing more than recapping the same subjects he took during his SHS days, noting how the process was unnecessary since there is nothing new to experience—except for additional costs. “We shouldn’t have to be paying for something we’ve already went through and passed before,” he argues.

Miel expounds that the lack of accreditation of several GEs and the lack of a clearer answer on how the process worked was one of his major concerns in being part of the Connect-Ed program.

Expressing similar sentiments, Manu Santillan (I, CS) initially thought that taking the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand in SHS meant a lesser workload if he took a college program under that field. To his dismay, he says that he did not “feel the change.” A year after the transition, miscommunication between the student body and the administration on the specific details of the program remains evident. With another batch of students expected to enter the University next term, it is all the more important that these concerns are clarified as soon as possible.

Jan Emmanuel Alonzo

By Jan Emmanuel Alonzo

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By Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

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