FEU to end second semester as scheduled, students appeal to “new normal”

FEU Advocate
April 17, 2020 11:10

By Trisha Angelika C. Ignacio and Dianne Romero

Despite growing student concerns, Academic Affairs Office (AAO) released guidelines on alternative learning for second semester of academic year (AY) 2019-2020 ending “as scheduled” on May 27 amid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an online statement, University President Dr. Michael M. Alba addressed growing concerns over the continuance of the semester during the pandemic.

“Far Eastern University believes that it is important in this trying period to maintain an evenness in disposition that balances health, safety, and well-being concerns with persevering in our educational mission,” he stated.

In accordance, AAO issued guidelines on the alternative learning for the second semester which will persist until May 27 for both Manila and Makati campuses. The general guidelines are as follows:

  1. As scheduled, the semester will end on May 27;
  2. All students will receive a prorated rebate from selected general miscellaneous fees and laboratory fees depending on their program. Excess credits after rebate shall reflect this summer or the first semester of AY 2020-2021;
  3. Covering from April 15 to May 15, faculties are advised to provide learning modules (downloadable assignments, readings, writing tasks) and reasonable outputs that are doable offline which should be accessible to students by April 20;
  4. Outputs for the uploaded work should be submitted on the following dates: May 4 (learning tasks given from March 20 to April 15), May 18-22 (learning tasks given from April 20), May 18 for all outputs (if quarantine extends);
  5. If classes are allowed to resume on May 4, teachers should only use the remaining weeks (May 4-15) for review, consultations and completion of requirements. No additional tasks should be given during this period;
  6. In case of quarantine extension until May, all outputs are to be submitted on May 18 for students to receive their grades on May 27;
  7. A grade of IP (In Progress) will be given to students who cannot access the given modules with an extension until July 27 for the completion of the requirements. The extension also applies to OJT, thesis classes, computer-lab classes and special-skill classes;
  8. Including IP as an additional grade option, the current letter grade policy will still be followed to compute for the QPA/GWA of the semester. Appropriate letter grades will be given in accomplishment of at least 8 formative assessments and 3 summative assessments;
  9. Commencement exercises for Batch 2020 will be rescheduled by October or November depending on government guidelines over conduction of social gatherings;
  10. The office of the Guidance and Counseling (G&C) and Health Services will be open for online consultations.

The office also provided academic calendars adhering to two possible situations: upon resumption of classes on May 4 and extension of quarantine until the end of May. The calendar included enrollment schedule and session for the summer term.

Detailed guidelines on academic concerns will be provided by respective offices and departments.

Students appeal on “new normal”, urge compassion

In his statement, the University President furthered that a “new normal” education will soon be adapted which needed certain competencies to combat the “distractions” at hand.

“Gen Z-ers will be living in a 21st century world of disruptive change. To thrive, people will have to learn to be flexible and resilient and to develop deep stores of emotional balance,” he mentioned.

However, with the quarantine extension until April 30, students raised concerns on second semester academic operations.

FEU Central Student Organization (FEUCSO), together with the six Institute Student Councils and FEU Makati Student Council, sent a joint letter to FEU Administration containing concerns and recommendation plans for the semester last April 15.

"In these trying times, it does not hurt to be compassionate once again. If anything, the FEU should take this opportunity to walk the path less travelled and give everyone their due. Only then, no one will be left behind," the letter stated.

The letter contained the following suggestions: end the semester and mass promotion, cancellation of all pending and upcoming tasks, submission of requirements shall be one month after ECQ, provision of free bridging programs during semestral break or start of the preceding term, removal of numerical grading system, tuition refunds, providing transition period for the well-being of the students and psychosocial consultations.

Prior, FEUCSO sent a letter to Dr. Alba containing the above recommendations and results from the conducted survey last April 9.

Further, National Democratic Mass Organizations such as Anakbayan – Morayta, League of Filipino Students – Morayta, and Kabataan Partylist – Morayta showed support in ending the semester and promoting students to the next year level.

Through an ongoing online petition, its appeal to the FEU Administration contains four demands: ending the semester and mass promotion, tuition refund, assurance of salary and benefits of faculty members and staff, and strengthening students’ representation.

It stated in an online post, “Dahil dito, mariin kaming nananawagan sa pamahalaan ng Far Eastern University na tapusin na ang semestre. Naniniwala ang aming organisasyon na sa kasalukuyang estado ng ating lipunan, walang sinuman ang dapat na maiwan. (Because of this, we are calling the administration of Far Eastern University to end the semester. Our organization believes that in the current situation of our society, no one should be left behind.)”

As of writing, there are 4, 668 supporters who signed the said petition.

The Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 5,878 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country with 487 recoveries and 387 deaths, as of 4:00 PM today, April 17.