LAGUNA, Philippines – University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) community raged online on Sunday, March 24, over a memorandum posted on the Facebook page of the University Student Council (USC) banning students from attending classes if they are unenrolled.
In the memo dated March 15, UPLB College of Arts and Sciences Dean Felino Lansigan reminded instructors and professors to follow "university rules and policies regarding the matter." It also noted that Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr instructed the order.
Students of of state universities and colleges (SUCs) no longer need to shell out money during enrollment with the Free Tuition Law. Why then are there many unenrolled students in UPLB?
According to them, the problem regarding enrollment is less about paying the tuition but more about the "bureaucratic system" of the university.
USC Vice President Han Norca said that the “flawed” Student Academic Information System (SAIS), which students use to register in their courses, is dependent on the available facilities and resources in the campus – in which the UPLB is lacking. This has caused several backlogs and delays in the overall process of enrollement for the students. (READ: UPLB students hold #JunkSAIS protest on first day of classes)
SAIS, a data management system that seeks to “integrate and harmonize the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and system across all constituent universities (CUs) of the UP System,” is part of UP President Alfredo Pascual’s P752-million flagship program called eUP. (READ: 4 things to know about eUP’s SAIS)
Norca told Rappler the slots may not be enough to cater to the number of students enlisting in each subject. He added that it also has a "faulty" tagging system which wrongfully marks some students "delinquent."
“Minsan kasi tina-tag ng SAIS na delinquent ang isang estudyante kahit maganda naman ‘yung record. Ang nangyayari kasi SAIS will prioritize students who have good academic standing,” added Norca. (Sometimes SAIS will tag a student as delinquent even he has good academic record. What will happen is that SAIS will prioritze students who have good academic standing.)
Students who fail to enlist to a subject online have to do it manually – running after the professors, getting papers signed, and submitting the papers to several departments. The process usually takes weeks, or even months, depending on the availability of the admin who will sign the papers.
Attempts for dialogue
According to Charm Maranan, officer-in-charge of the Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan, they kept asking Sanchez for a dialogue with the USC and campus organizations to address the concerns of students, but attempts at dialogue appeared to fail.
“We have requested dialogue with Chancellor Sanchez for the third time. This is despite the efforts of the students to face him, but he is never available to address our concerns,” said Maranan.
Meanwhile, Kirby Vicente, a graduating BA Communication Arts student, fears he may not graduate this semester because he hasn't been able to enroll yet due to lack of one unit on his course load.
“Kulang pa ako ng isang unit which is the manuscript. Lagi na lang dine-deny ‘yung appeal ko for course petition citing no concrete reason,” shared Vicente. (I still lack one unit which is for my manuscript. My appeal for course petition always gets denied citing no concrete reason.)
“Nakakalungkot lang na hindi ako makaka graduate, hindi dahil sa negligence ko but sa negligence ng admin,” added Vicente. (It's just sad that I won't be able to graduate on time not because I'm negligent, but the negligence of the admin.)
Online, students slammed the memo which they describe as "repressive and anti-student."
In a comment, UPLB almunus Reginel Valencia called out Lansigan for the move saying, "Dean Felino, do you really have to be this harsh?"
For Mackie Valenzuela, the UPLB registration system is “faulty at its best,” and readmission policy is "disgusting." “You look down on the students and tag them as 'delinquents' for failing to enroll. Well, in fact, it is YOUR ADMINISTRATION that is delinquent,” wrote Valenzuela.
Asked for her message to Chancellor Sanchez, Maranan said, “Face the students and be accountable. After 5 years, student services and students’ rights and welfare [have been] continuously deteriorating.”
Norca said the UPLB-USC has sent a letter to the University Secretary requesting that the issue on registration be discussed on the next Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, March 28.
Rappler has also reached out to Dean Lansigan and Chancellor Sanchez for comment, but they have yet to respond as of posting. – Rappler.com