Amid students’ social media clamor against the recent Office of the Academic Vice President (AVP) memo rescheduling final summative assessments (FSAs) earlier to December, AVP Gina Montalan confirmed yesterday afternoon that no appeals would revoke the decision.
In Memorandum No. 2020-19 released by her office yesterday, Montalan said that the number of backlogs accumulated by students enrolled since the summer would eventually overlap with the second semester if exams will not be pursued this December.
“Itong schedule na ito, it’s not a policy but it is an amendment of the schedule which is still covered by our current policy…. Then we gave a directive na hindi–ganito na lang gawin natin–lahat ng backlogs ninyo December na. Di nyo na papaabutin ng one year, otherwise magrereklamo na naman kayo at kayo na naman yung mahihirapan n’yan,” she told Atenews.
Considering that final summative assessments may be retaken twice, Montalan asks when the retakes will be made in case the students fail the first exam.
“If we’re going to have the January schedule then when do you think the students are going to have their retakes if they fail in their first take? They will have it in February or March, then what happens now to the academic requirements of the 2nd semester courses? They will basically overlap with the preparation of students for their FSA backlogs,” she said.
No formal appeals after town hall meeting
Although Memorandum 2020-18 regarding the schedules of final summative assessments was released last November 17, Montalan said that as of yesterday morning, her office has not received any formal appeals from the SAMAHAN.
“We do not know what to respond to. There were no appeals that were formally sent to us. It was all in social media. Why will we respond to all those concerns in social media? How will we know that these things are representing the general studentry? One voice in social media can be bloated several times,” she said.
She also said that none of the other members of the central administration were invited during the town hall meeting last November 17; hence the no-show.
“None of them [SAMAHAN] communicated to me and to any dean about the Town Hall meeting. I only learned that there was a town hall meeting through Twitter… I interpreted it that maybe they can represent us well in there. After the townhall meeting, none of them even communicated with us whom they have engaged with in the November 16 meeting, even through text message, through phone, none,” she said.
Montalan said that upon asking SAMAHAN moderator Lunar Fayloga regarding the townhall meeting, he said that it was supposed to be a meeting with only the students but SAMAHAN invited Fr. Ulysses Cabayao, SJ, at the last moment.
“We did not receive any invite at all, either it’s formal or informal… Had we been invited by the SCB, we could have explained all these things to the students and we could have taken all the bullets away from them,” she said.
Last night, SAMAHAN via its official Twitter account released a statement on the adjustments of summative assessments schedule which includes a final appeal to the AVP to reconsider its decision.
The same statement was sent to University President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, SAMAHAN President Renz Lacorte disclosed.
When asked if any appeal can change the decision, Montalan was firm in its irrevocability, citing overlapping schedules and lack of formal appeal by the SAMAHAN.
“We have no other schedule except December, otherwise we go back to the problem of overlapping of FSA backlogs with the 2nd semester academic requirements. The second one is we have waited for them but instead of sending formal communication to us, they kept on ranting in social media. Whom do they think can help them in the social media and how can we respond to them through the social media? They all know that they can always request for a dialogue with the administration, why run to the social media?” she said.
She also emphasized that the first six weeks of second semester dedicated to non-academic formation was not mandatory, referring to the decision of the Formation Cluster; hence, students can focus on their academics if they have FSA backlogs.
“We don’t want to bring the students in a situation na pwede naman sanang gawin na ngayong December dahil wala naman palang ginagawa yung estudyante dahil voluntary naman pala yung non-academic formation activities natin. So ngayon kung ganyan, we don’t want to bring our students in a situation that they will not know anymore how to get out from it dahil grabe na ang swamping ng schedules of the FSAs,” she said.
As of press time, the admin has not responded to the statement or appeal of the SAMAHAN.
Adjustments for affected clusters
Before AVP Memorandum 2020-18 was released on November 17, the SEA and Accountancy cluster had proposed to be exempted from the rescheduling, given they provide a new schedule of taking the exams in December and January. Accountancy Representative Rhoi Verallo said these were later denied by Fr. Tabora.
With this, most of the EA and Accountancy cluster departments opted to adjust according to their students’ needs considering that their clusters have the most number of students affected by the rescheduling.
Josh Daquipil, SEA Representative, shared that the SEA has decided to allow retakes until January, although students have to comply with the December schedule for their first take.
“Retakes for Engineering Science and Mathematics (ESM) subjects will be available in January to give ample time for teachers to check papers and create a new batch of exams, and provides students time to study,” he said.
Course representatives have also been instructed to dialogue with their departments in order to adjust and scale-down some requirements, Daquipil added.
Meanwhile, Accountancy representative Verallo told Atenews that his department has been “so considerate and understanding to their students.”
Adjustments in the Accountancy cluster include allowing students to decide on the schedule of their December exams, as well as administering open-notes exams for Business Law and multiple-choice tests for some subjects, among others.
“Despite these leniencies or arrangements, I am still against the sudden change in the schedule of the SAs. While I deeply appreciate the generosity of our Departments, I believe they are not the ones who should make up and be held accountable for these problems,” Verallo clarified.
“A leniency will always be well-appreciated, but that does not change the fact that due to the Higher Administration’s inconsistencies in decision-making, many students are suffering heavily and are now putting their dreams at great risk.”