No UPCAT this year but “modified freshmen admissions system” for schoolyear 2021-2022

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 November) –  For the first time in decades, there will be no UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test) this year for graduating senior high school students who want to pursue their college degrees in any of the UP campuses nationwide.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a “modified freshmen admissions system” will instead be set up specific to schoolyear  2021-2022, an article posted on the website of the University of the Philippines (UP) System on November 10 said.

University of the Philippines Mindanao in Davao City. Photo from UP Mindanao’s FB page

According to the article, the University Councils of eight constituent universities had “unanimously decided that there will be no UPCAT for the intake of first year students in Academic Year 2021-2022.”

UP Mindanao in Davao City is among the eight constituent universities.

An October 30 memorandum issued by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs said the University Councils “unanimously voted NOT to administer UPCAT in light of logistical issues in the paper-and-pencil testing of about 100,000 17-year old applicants.”

The memo said majority of the UC members did not consider an online UPCAT feasible “due to the length of the exam and variety of items that would require a consistently strong Internet connection to download within the time allotted for examinees to answer.”

Had there been no pandemic, this year’s UPCAT would have been administered on October 10 and 11.

The usual UPCAT involves around 1,600 testing personnel deployed in 94 testing centers nationwide.

According to Sections 16 and 17 of Republic Act 9500 or the UP Charter of 2008, the University Councils are vested with the power “to fix the requirements for admission to any college or unit, graduation and grant of honors subject to minimum system-wide requirements.”

Proposed changes in the admission policy are to be approved by the University Council of each UP constituent university, which consists of the chancellor as chair and all faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor and higher as members.

Taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, the report of the Vice President for Admission and  the decision of the  University Council, the UP Board of Regents instructed the Office of Admissions  (OAdms) to come up, by February 2021, a “modified freshmen admissions system” specific to schoolyear  2021-2022.

“This includes the use of big data analytics to arrive at a UP admission score model, which the OAdms, together with other concerned offices, is currently developing, as well as the determination by academic units of an additional layer of screening for particular programs, if deemed necessary,” it said.

The OAdms, it added, presented five options for admission to the eight University Councils, the System Academic Affairs Committee, University Executive Committee, and the President’s Advisory Council.

The article said applicants for admission to UP are required to submit UPCAT application Form 1 (Personal Data Sheet) and Form 2 (High School Records) ‘although these forms have been modified to account for stricter data privacy, efficiency, and the health and safety risks in this pandemic.”

It said UP encourages online accomplishment and submission but is cognizant of technological limitations and will accept manually accomplished forms.

Application period begins in December 2020, the exact date to be announced soon.

To prevent the spread of misinformation, applicants are urged to check the websites, Facebook and twitter accounts of the UP System and  the UP Office of Admissions. (MindaNews).