As students fall into long queues to complete their enrollment for the upcoming semester, Palawan State University (PSU) continues to struggle with its migration to an upgraded enrollment system that will speed up its procedures.
The current system being used by the university went down on August 4, stalling the enrollment process and sending many students into long lines.
Officials at the university say they are almost done moving to a better system, and they are still retrieving about 20% of their current database that is still on the old system.
Dr. Eucila Sespeñe, Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), acknowledged that their current difficulties are attributed to their old computerized system that had been set up over a decade ago.
“Sobrang luma na siya, 2008 or 2009 pa siya na system natin. Ang provider natin nag-close shop na, hindi taga-rito. Wala na rin tayong kontrata sa kaniya, we are on our own. Dahil hindi na compatible ‘yong system na ‘yon sa mga bagong operating system,” Dr. Sespeñe said.
The PSU enrollment system is composed of five modules—the students’ module, teachers/faculty module, cashiers’ module, officer module, and OSAS module.
The only affected module is the students’ module, containing students’ profiles, which is also needed in the production of transcripts of records (TOR). But the university assured that there are hard copies as the backup from 1977 records to the present and the grades are secured in the teachers’/faculty module in the system.
“May mga copy of grades kaya hindi sila dapat matakot na mawawala ang grade nila. We see to it na ang mga estudyante every sem ay kumukuha sila ng copy of grades. Tapos si teachers naman ay may hard copy ‘yong grade sheet na sina-submit niya. Nagpo-post siya ng grade pero may hard copy ng grade sheets,” Sespeñe said.
The university can also manually generate the TORs, but a student will need about 30 to 40 minutes to process their papers. Students can request this online and will be notified once their TORs are ready to claim.
Dr. Carlos Alfonso Salvador, university registrar, said that the university is now at 80 percent of the retrieval of data from the old system.
“We would like to assure we’re really doing our best to regain the data. Wala tayong problema sa data ng grade– may backup kami ng hard copies nito. Ang sa teachers module ay hindi naapektuhan,” he said.
“We’re almost there, nasa 80 percent na ‘yong ating retrieval. The thing is, pagdating natin ng 80 ay nag-i-error siya. Ang 20 percent ang hinahanapan namin ng solusyon– Kaya one good thing na ni-recommend sa atin ng OVPAA if we can look for external people who can help us—para makapag-meeting kami with IT ng PSU at (IT Era) para mapag-usapan at makita kung ano ang cause ng error sa 20 percent,” he added.
OVPAA estimates that PSU has already reached 90% of its enrollment for the school year 2022-2023, which equates to approximately 28,000 to 29,000 students.
The office of the university registrar already noticed glitches in 2017 in the old enrollment system. However, it took three years for the PSU to acquire the new system due to some concerns such as budget allocation and budget realignment due to pandemic.
“May problema tayo sa operating system— syempre nag-a-upgrade ‘yong operating systems natin. Ngayon nasa Windows 11 na tayo, ang systems natin ay nasa Windows 9 and 7. May computers tayo kino-convert natin into Windows 7 or 9,” he said.
“Dahil lumang system, ‘di siya cloud-base. Ang system natin ay server-base, everyday kailangan ma-backup natin kasi naka-folder lang ‘yon sa isa. That day, the thing is hindi naman natin alam na mangyayari siya, hindi kaagad na-backup. Iyon ang niri-retrieve, August 3 na folder kailangan para mabuksan ang ibang folder pababa,” he added.
The PSU acquired a new P8.3 million system from the local provider, IT Era, in 2022. The university’s ICT and IT Era will work on how to retrieve the remaining 20 percent of the enrollment data.
“Itong papasok natin ay itu-turnover nila ‘yong pinaka-source code sa atin, we can improve—unlike noong nauna natin, wala tayong control sa maraming bagay,” he added.
PSU extended the enrollment until August 12 and is only looking for the approved pre-enrollment form to consider the student as enrolled. The university will start getting data from the old system and putting it into the new system, which will be used in the second semester.
Opening school year 2022-2023
PSU expects around 28,000 to 29,000 enrollees in the first semester of the school year 2022–2023. It will implement a blended learning scheme, wherein limited face-to-face and online classes will be combined.
The university observed an increase in enrollees despite the ongoing pandemic and the shift in the learning scheme. From 2017 to 2018, around 17,000 to 18,000 students were enrolled in PSU, then increased to 22,000 from 2019 to 2021. The semester of the school year 2021 to 2022 hit 26,000 people or population.
“Marami kasi tayong estudyante from Manila na umuwi sa probinsya, nakaya pa naman namin. Dahil ang problema namin ay shortage ng classroom, since online ang class, kaya namin sila i-accomodate. We just hired additional faculty members, ‘yong ibang faculty members namin ay binigyan namin ng extra load, na-satisfy namin,” Sespeñe said.
The university set a limit on accepting freshmen for the incoming school year, with a maximum of three sections per program. Around 4,000 freshmen students were accepted out of 10,000 applicants for the new school year on the main campus.
Sespeñe mentioned that PSU had to cut the limit, like in the nursing program wherein only 120 students will be accepted out of 1,000 applicants to manage the capacity of PSU’s faculty and classrooms in a limited face-to-face setup.
VPAA admitted that the number of students for the first semester would be challenging for the university, but it would make sure to provide a 40-to-45 student class size. PSU is also looking into the challenges that might be faced in transitioning the process of students and faculty from an online scheme to a face-to-face setup.
“Ibig sabihin marami na gusto mag-aral sa PSU, we were able to get the best students. Nakakapamili kami, istrikto namin ini-implement ang admission and retention policy,” she said.
PSU has resumed the admission test for interested student applicants, with a minimum of an 85 percent general weighted average (GWA). The university did not allow the conduct of admission tests in the school years 2021 to 2022 due to the height of the pandemic, and applicants were only ranked based on their GWAs.
The administration is considering a possible scheme to limit the number of students on campus. This is so that blended learning can be used in their area, colleges and other campuses have to fill out an evaluation form.
“May scheme kami na pinag-aaralan, halimbawa ang first at second year ay first two weeks lang nandito sa campus. Next two weeks nila ay work online, at third year and fourth year naman ang nasa campus para hindi sila sabay-sabay na nandito,” she said.
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