UP students given options in complying with course reqs, safety nets against failing grades

| Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta

In light of the global pandemic and enhanced community quarantine declared across most of the country, the University of the Philippines has decided to end the second semester of AY 2019-2020 on April 30, 2020, instead of the original May 23, 2020.

This decision was made during a meeting of the UP Board of Regents (UP BOR) held on April 16, following deliberations and revisions of a proposal submitted by the President’s Advisory Council, a committee composed of the UP System vice presidents and the chancellors of all UP constituent units. The details of the final decision and corresponding guidelines will be issued in an official memo that will soon be made available and cascaded through proper channels.

With this decision, UP students in all constituent units are given two options. They can choose to complete their course requirements until May 31, 2021, and upon compliance shall be given a numeric grade under a “deferred grade” scheme. Instead of receiving a failing grade, students who find themselves unable to complete their course requirements by May 2021 will be considered dropped and will have to retake the course in the succeeding semester.

However, students whose circumstances allow them to work on course requirements during quarantine, can choose to complete these requirements, following the adjusted syllabus and the deadlines set by their constituent university. They will then be given a numerical grade based on faculty assessment of their performance.

Moreover, students who enrolled in a course that is a prerequisite to a higher course will be allowed to enroll in the latter for credit, despite the “deferred grade” for the prerequisite course. To help students catch up with their courses, departments, units and institutes shall offer bridging programs during the first semester of AY 2020-2021.

Departments and faculty have been urged to prepare necessary course requirements that will allow them to assess academic performance, taking into consideration the crisis conditions the students are working in. These adjusted course requirements must be communicated to the students by May 1, 2020.

For postgraduate students, their departments, units and institutions shall determine how best to proceed with the courses and how to assess students’ academic performances, in consultation with the students and in consideration of the current crisis situation.

UP is also waiving academic rules as well as policies on scholastic standing and student financial assistance.

Specifically, the deadlines for the dropping of subjects and for filing Leave of Absence for the second semester of AY 2019-2020 are lifted. As for the maximum residency rule, residence for this semester shall not be counted in the years of residence of a student.

A student who incurred a grade of incomplete (INC) during the second semester of AY 2018-2019 shall be allowed to remove the INC until first semester AY 2020-2021. Similarly, a student who incurred a grade of 4.0 during the same period shall also be allowed to remove the 4.0 until first semester AY 2020-2021.

Rules on scholastic standing (delinquency), including rules on warning, probation, dismissal and permanent disqualification, are suspended for the second semester AY 2019-2020. Policies on student financial assistance, which are tied to scholastic standing, are similarly suspended.

The University will continue to explore alternative modes of instruction, requirements and assessment methods that are consistent with its mandate as national university, and with the principles of honor and excellence, all while taking into account the extreme conditions, unequal life circumstances, and high levels of anxiety, stress and suffering that UP faculty and students are enduring.