Too Late. Restart.

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New curriculum forced many students to re-enter the first year of education. With iron fingers, it gripped the necks of students who have been running as hard they can. It pulled them back to the starting line, just because they started the race a little too late. Even with their shirts soaked, their panting amounted to not having run at all. Restart.

Various departments did not offer the courses in the old curriculum. Thus, re-entry students needed to follow the new courses outlined. As a result, those who have not taken them yet had to either cross-enroll or petition them, while those who can’t had to change courses or restart their program using the new curriculum. But while the lack of offering is reasonable to a certain degree, not everyone who pulled back deserved it.

Because K-12 education demands a different approach to tertiary education, universities in our country had to adapt by modifying the curriculum of different academic programs. Courses which are now being offered by different Senior High School strands were removed from the early college curriculum, while various specializations and updated contents were added to various programs.

The supposedly last batches of college students from the old curriculum were given ample time of two years to complete their requirements so that they wouldn’t get caught up by the incoming college students from the K to 12 program. Any student steadfast enough would expect, at the very least, what would happen if they did not do their best to meet their program requirements.

But that could only be wholly applicable to transfer and first-year students who entered on or before AY 2016-2017. They were the last batch who can start any program from scratch and, through the taking of subjects during the last two midyears, would be left with the least amount of units acceptable for a fourth-year enrollment.

The fact that colleges continued to accept new enrollees later than that meant that it would have been inevitable for those newer students to re-enter by the start of SY 2018-2019 if they cannot cross-enroll or petition subjects, no matter how much they maximize the time. After all, not only is overloading not allowed in the lower years, but there were only a few older students who can join their classes.

Of course, it cannot be helped. The University has limited resources and creating new classes for every petitioned course, especially since many of them come from only a few students per class is not financially viable. Also, the number of courses to be accommodated for many of those students can amount to only one year-worth of education since many of the courses taken from the old curriculum are credited in the new one anyway.

Also, there are non-board programs such as those in the business curriculum that allowed those who still have a number of courses from the old curriculum to continue taking them.
But not all students fall under this category. There are students who are performing well in class, have no failing grades, and have been in college for too long. They have proven themselves, in other words, that if given the opportunity they can graduate without having to spend another four or five years in the university.

And when considering the rules, it would not matter that much if the courses taken by the students were credited. This is due to the undeniable amount of time they have to spend here at the University just because taking advanced courses is not allowed. They may be competent enough to take on major subjects already, but they are stumped.

They could have been taking full load by attending general education classes. They could have been completing major courses of which prerequisite they have already taken in the old curriculum. They could have been preparing for a nearer professional work if only they can take advanced courses from the new curriculum. Being made to suffer for past errors they may have committed years ago that may have led them to study later than their peers when their current performance already speaks for their new-found discipline and competence, is totally unnecessary.

And it is not just that those students made bad decisions. Not all students are afforded the luxury of having life being served on a silver platter. Some of them may have had to pause in their studies to work and earn for a living. Coming back to university after a few semesters just to have the inevitable fate of having to go back to the first year of college will worsen their lives more than their limited financial capabilities can handle.

They do not have to join the honor rolls if their grades are high enough. After all, they cannot be compared to students who have taken the K to 12 program. In fact, since they are not actual recipients of such, they should not be subjected to the same monitoring in the first place. If their new batchmates are restricted to a minimum of four years, if they are competent enough, they should not be made to go through the wringer.

Of course, the students can always enroll in other academic institutions which can render their remaining college time far less. State universities are now also free of tuition, and there are many other private institutions that offer cheaper education. But that is not the point here. We would fail as an institution if we cannot offer students a quality education, especially if that lack is due to the students being pressured by the length of time they have to spend here in the University.

It all boils down to giving re-entry students an opportunity to avoid having to repeat their years of education. If the students have already developed the necessary competencies for their year level, why not give them credits to preclude reversion to the first year under a new curriculum.

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