University of the Philippines starts classes, welcomes new students to remote learning

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UP starting classes remote teaching
The UP System is a network of 8 constituent universities and 21 campuses across the Philippines. Screengrab from UP welcome video.

The University of the Philippines (UP) is starting classes today and welcoming students to a full remote teaching and learning mode amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has restricted regular face-to-face classroom experience.

UP classes in 8 constituent universities and 21 campuses across the Philippines opened on September 10, 2020, following an online welcome ceremony the day before that was streamed live on the YouTube channel of the state university’s Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The first system-wide online welcome ceremony hosted by Professor Maria Angelica Abad, AVP for Public Affairs and Director for Alumni Relations, and Dr. Wendell Capili, AVP for Public Affairs for Internal Communication and Cultural Programme, went live on YouTube with key announcements on how the country’s top university is adjusting its academic requirements and services given the remote learning mode.

UP President Danilo Concepcion welcomed new and returning students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni while stating the university’s role in setting an example for other institutions to face the unprecedented challenges to Philippine education that has turned to remote learning as a health safety measure.

“Nagpasya tayong ipagpatuloy ang ating pagtuturo at pag-aaral sa gitna ng pandemya sapagkat batid natin na ito ang tamang hakbang ang tamang sagot sa pandemya.

“Isa itong mariing pagpapatibay sa ating kakayahan bilang Pilipino na manatiling sa anumang kahirapan at pagsubok role model for schools sa panibagong panahon ng karimlan,” said the UP President.

Dr. Cynthia Rose Bautista, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs, announced the full remote teaching and learning mode for the UP System and clarified it was not entirely dependent on internet access.

The UP officials present in the online ceremony announced the UP measures that include the following:

1. The university had set up systems for printed Course Pack home delivery and explored the use of television for students who are in areas with limited or no internet connectivity

2. The provision of online subscriptions to educational resources, platforms, and simulation apps such as virtual dissecting tables for the College of Medicine

3. Bridge program for midyear 2021 for students and alumni whose competencies need to be honed in face-to-face skills demonstration

4. Suspended rules on academic standing with the new semester not to be counted in the computation of maximum residency

5. Lessened student load from 15 to 12 units

6. Retention of student services through the One-stop Help Desk for student affairs

7. Retention of recognition processes for student organizations

8. Availability of student financial assistance scholarship, grants, loans

9. Provision of mental health support

10. Provision of internet subsidy and gadgets support

The UP VP for Academic Affairs said that when the situation eventually allows for regular classrooms, the remote teaching and learning set up will be incorporated in a mix of face to face, virtual, and immersive learning to enable the university to be ready to be more ready to withstand future similar occurrences such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “uncharted teaching and learning situation shows the heroic job of teachers of preparing for the sem amid pandemic concerns at home, the same challenge students are facing with learning challenges,” said Dr. Bautista as she appealed for understanding amid the misgivings of the unprecedented academic year that is defining and requiring the community to negotiate through the unknown.

Dr. Elenia Pernia, UP Vice President for Public Affairs, made an appeal for the academic community to embrace UP’s role amid the challenges to education.

“We resume our classes as a way to shape a new reality that is still Tatak UP amid hesitations, unease,” said Dr. Pernia.

The thousands of viewers of the Live Streaming of the UP system-wide Online Welcome Ceremony were also treated to a virtual UP tour of its history and contribution to society with a TVUP video presentation.

A music video of a made-for-UP song, “Husay at Galing”, composed and performed by indie group Pordalab also welcomed participants in the virtual event.

UP Website
Image from UP System Facebook

UP, established in 1908, is a state-funded network of eight constituent universities across the Philippines.

UP Diliman is the main campus which houses the UP System center.

UP Manila specializes in health sciences and runs the country’s premier state-funded hospital, the Philippine General Hospital.

UP Los Baños in Laguna focuses on forestry, agriculture and environmental studies and also owns the 10,500-acre Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve.

UP Open University is the distance-learning leader which runs a range of online courses for home and overseas students.

UP Visayas takes a special interest in fisheries and marine sciences.

UP Mindanao emphasizes studies on architecture and biotechnology programs.

UP Cebu, used to be part of UP Visayas but became independent in order to focus on business and IT courses.

UP Baguio enjoys a reputation as a national leader in sciences, mathematics, and humanities.

The University of the Philippines is the country’s top educational institution ranked among the world’s best in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.

The university’s entrance examination, the UPCAT, attracts over a hundred thousand applicants every year vying for competitive slots to its excellent programs.

WATCH the UP Opening Ceremony here and SEND WELL WISHES to the academic community of the University of the Philippines as it starts classes and welcomes new students to fully remote learning this new school year.

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.