Last June, the Academic Council discussed about the stricter implementation of the admit-to-exam policy in response to the rising amount ...

A Unified Call to Defer the Stricter Implementation of the Blue Form Policy to AY 2017-2018

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Last June, the Academic Council discussed about the stricter implementation of the admit-to-exam policy in response to the rising amount of collectibles of the University. While the existing policy outlined in Chapter 5, III F.3 of the student handbook is clear that payments are due every Preliminary, Midterm, Pre-Final, and Final Exams, its implementation by the faculty has relaxed throughout the years, thus leading to the current system where students are only asked to pay during Midterm and Final Exams.

In response to the proposed measures of the University, the Central Student Government organized a forum on the admit-to-exam policy last 2 July 2016. Various students and student representatives were present during the forum, and raised their concerns about the proposal. Some of the concerns raised were the lack of consultations and dialogue with stakeholders, the abruptness of the implementation, and the difficulty of paying due to the large volume of payments in the month of June (e.g. down payments, uniforms, books, and the like). Apart from that, there was a lack of information dissemination on the enforcement of the old policy. There is a recognition that such policy has been implemented before yet loosened. However, the given premise does not give enough justification for the information dissemination to be deemed unnecessary. Although the intention of the policy is noble, its implications toward the student body are numerous, and may even prove detrimental considering the short notice.

Fr Tacastacas, the academic vice president, verbally proposed during the forum for its gradual implementation, and further proposed that as long as students are able to pay even a small amount for Preliminary Exams as a gesture of goodwill, their admit-to-exam form will be stamped. Fr Tacastacas later reiterated this last 4 July 2016 at the University President’s Council meeting, thus giving us confidence that our concerns have been heard and will be acted upon.

However, despite the concerns of the students, some colleges opted to implement the stricter implementation of the admit-to-exam policy where students have been required to present their blue form before they could take their preliminary exam. There have also been reports that “payments out of goodwill” were not recognized since some of the students who paid on such measure were not given a stamp for the preliminary exam. This caused hassle to many students and parents as well.
The abrupt implementation of the policy raises many questions, mainly (a) Was the context properly explained to the stakeholders? Were there prior consultations held? Why was there no consultation with the student government about the strict implementation? (b) When and how were teachers informed about the stricter implementation of the policy? How was the information supposed to be disseminated? How will the administration respond to students who were only informed less than a week from their preliminary examinations? (c) Why weren’t goodwill payments honored? What recourse does a student have if he/she cannot accumulate enough funds to pay his/her preliminary exam dues? (d) Would a change in the implementation of the policy make any difference?
In light with the aforementioned, we, the students of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, through the Central Student Government and the College Councils, call on the administration to:

a) Defer the stricter implementation of the admit-to-exam policy to AY 2017-2018 while our concerns have not been answered;
b) Allow students who were not able to take their Preliminary Exams due to the abrupt implementation to take their Prelims without paying delayed exam fees as a gesture of goodwill to students, and;
c) Engage in extensive consultations with the student body and our parents in order to better understand the context of the proposal and its implications to the stakeholders.

As we go through these troubling times, we pray for clarity as we heed to the Jesuit call for continuous dialogue to reach a solution that is balanced and fair to all. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!



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