Instead of reverting back to the old University Break (U Break) schedule, the administration has decided to abolish it entirely and implement a five-day schedule, aligning DLSU with other universities in the Philippines. According to University Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC, the change will take effect starting Term 3 of Academic Year (AY) 2018-2019.
Previously, the rationale behind the U Break change was the result of an analysis done on 10 year’s worth of data which showed that Mondays have the most frequent suspensions among all days of the week. After a year of implementation, the administration discovered that the previous data was not as reliable as they previously thought, realizing that most suspensions are in fact caused by unforeseen factors such as weather patterns.
With this, the administration will implement a five-day schedule to limit unanticipated suspensions, and as Oca put it, “make the most out of every day of the week.”
But wait, there’s more
In addition to the new policy, there are also plans to include a 24-hour class cycle once a week to continue maximizing the availability of students. The idea was first brought up during a meeting with other administrative officials after they observed an increase of students staying at the 24/7 study facility in Gokongwei Hall, with some students studying until 4 am.
“Lasallians are really diligent and responsible, so we believe that they would understand the new policies we will be implementing. This is for the best,” Oca shares. The 24-hour class cycle will be offered during the upcoming enlistment season before the start of the upcoming term. Oca cites that the administration is arranging classes that can start as early as 6 am and offer classes that also end at 6 am of the next day.
Currently, they intend to have 24-hour class days held on Thursdays in order to combat the drinking culture of “Happy Thursdays” or “Happy T”. “It’s a good opportunity to hit two birds with one stone, as they say,” notes Oca, believing that with the implementation of this policy, students will find it impossible to drink in the nearby establishments since they would all be “too busy having classes.”
This, the chancellor argues, effectively eliminates the negative stigma around Lasallian students being known drinkers, and reduces the security and safety concerns students face should problems occur in the establishments during peak hours.
Based on a recent survey conducted by The LaSallian, students appear to be divided on the issue of whether or not to support these changes. The overall results show that in a sample of 100 students from the different colleges, around 37 percent agree with the changes, 40 percent disagree, and the rest are still undecided or indifferent toward these changes.
Marco Tenefrancia (II, DSM-ADV) is one of the students who is for the new policy changes. He says, “I am actually excited for the five-day class schedule, especially with the 24-hour class cycle. Studying is my passion.”
Stella Shi (I, AEC) believes that this might actually be an opportunity to improve group activities, explaining, “If there are 24-hour classes, it’s easier for us to make sure that our groupmates are really working on their share of the projects and homeworks and not really slacking off, because now they have to be in school with us. We can make sure they’re always working.”
On the other hand, other students share their opposition toward the schedule change. Bernadette Tayag (III, AB-CAM) views the new policy as “unfair to students”. “It will affect me mentally and physically. It is just too much,” she expresses.
A period of experimentation
While the changes are final and are already due to apply next term, how long the system will be in place is still unknown. “In the end, we recognize that these changes are a risk because of their experimental nature”, Oca admits.
The administration will be evaluating the effects of the changes very closely in the coming terms to see if the policy is working well or if more changes are needed. “For example, if things go really well, and the students are taking it well, we might even extend it to two times a week or three [24-hour class days]. But if not, then maybe we can just stick to the five-day schedule,” shares the chancellor.
Oca also reveals plans to revert to a six-day schedule, which was previously tested in AY 2011-2012 but was dropped in favor of the four-day schedule, if students would be open to it. “We’re looking at it (six-day schedule) as a possible option. It’s something that’s rarely done in other schools, but maybe we can try it out next year,” he states.