The memorandum issued recently on the transfer of class opening to August for state universities and colleges was only a recommendation and not a requirement, according to Commission on Higher Education.
Chairman Prospero De Vera III said that the memorandum he issued to CHED regional directors and heads of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) dated April 5 was only meant to encourage them to shift to an August opening of academic calender.
De Vera clarified that the power to change academic calendar of SUCs and LUCs lies in their respective Board of Regents, not on CHED.
The shift to August would align the academic year to fiscal year which is very favorable situation for implementation of Free Tuition Law under the cash-based budgeting system currently employed by Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
If the start of the second semester continues to fall on November, SUCs will not meet the December 31 deadline and will have to wait longer before receiving the reimbursement, De Vera said.
“In the 2019 GAA [General Appropriations Act], there is a provision by Congress asking CHED to facilitate the shift in academic calendar,” De Vera said. “The memo is in compliance with Congressional and Presidential directive.”
He said that another factor to consider in shifting the academic calendar is internationalization. It is reportedly “easier to develop international linkages and exchange of students” with some universities in the ASEAN region if they have the same school calendar.
De Vera added that the shift is advantageous for students since they would have more months to prepare for college.
Like SUCs and LUCs, private Higher Education Institutions also have the discretion whether to heed the memorandum order or not. (With reports from GMA News)