Accountancy students do not want to finish the academic year half-baked.
Despite appeals to extend the semester through extending the summative assessment (SA) schedule, the Resolutions by the Academic Vice President (AVP) re Student Concerns and 2nd Semester Exit Plan were not inclusive and accommodating to the cluster’s concerns.
If we scrutinized the resolution posted last night, it did not echo and address all clusters’ concerns [READ: Admin rejects sem extension, but appeals to adjust final exams sched continue]. It may have allowed some extension of students’ deadlines in output-based courses and time-on-task courseware, but it will still be up to the instructors to give the leeway. Overall, the resolution provided little to no comfort, especially for exam-based courses with final exams still due to be taken next week.
The root cause of why we called to extend the sem was because of the shortened semester, the so-called “mental health break” cutting down the usual five-month sem to three. Higher-year students juggling major subjects did not have enough time to master and understand the concepts necessary for the board exams. Even teachers are struggling to barely cover and finish the syllabus, having to adjust and compromise the materials they teach just to deliver. As a result, the time constraint forced students to be self-reliant in learning. This is not the quality education the Ateneo takes pride in – not when the mode of instruction is compromised and the students’ learning, half-baked.
In the context of the Accountancy department, the shortened sem became be a burden when the original retention policy superseded the interim policy [READ: Accountancy appeals for final exam extension subhead]. Students needed to reach higher grade requirements to be retained in the program, not just pass the exams. The best compromise was to extend the SA schedule to provide ample time for review. Still, the admin did not address this in the resolution.
Proven to be ineffective, the “mental health break” worsened the situation because it left students no room for a breather. The compromise effected by the AdDU Strike [READ: Admin faces online backlash as it sets final tests earlier to December; Tests sched issue resolved as Tabora rescinds AVP memo, apologizes for admin’s faults] meant that the break was used for studying, reviewing, and answering exams, not for resting.
The mental health break’s point became contentious when AdDU decided to move the first sem SAs – was the University really sincere in “[considering] the well-being of everyone as an important priority,” or was it merely a band-aid solution to save face? If one thing, the entire saga should have served as a lesson for the admin – there are systemic problems that need to be addressed in creating a structure that strikes the balance between rest and learning.
While commendable because of their tireless efforts to lobby our concerns to the administration, the student council must be more urgent and assertive in doing so. Surveys could only do so much when they are not reflected in creating student-friendly and humane academic policies and resolutions.
Though I may have focused more on our experiences in the cluster, this does not in any way invalidate the concerns of those that were not heard as well. Resolutions and academic policies should be inclusive to all students. They should not ostracize and disregard the appeals that were lobbied, considering the different contexts of each department. Thus, we demand for inclusive resolutions from the follow-up appeals and recommendations – resolutions that are just, fair, and pro-student in addressing our concerns.