Last December 15, 2023, all seven (7) offices housed in the Diliman Interactive Learning Center (DILC) building, came together and wrapped up the year through its back-to-back annual year-end assessment and Christmas celebration. The Office of Field Activities (OFA) Diliman, along with the Office for Advancement of Teaching Diliman (OAT), Office of International Linkages (OIL) Diliman, General Education Center (GEC), Interactive Learning Center Diliman (ILCD), National Service Training Program (NSTP) Diliman, and the OVCAA Central Office, presented its accomplishments for 2023.
Following the positive developments in the country’s health situation and some adjustments in health protocols in the past year, OFA Diliman crafted and released the F2F Academic Field Activities (AFA) Guidelines on January 13, 2023, as annexed in Memorandum No. FRN-23-002. This aided various academic units with the documentary requirements and processes necessary to conduct AFAs. The new set of guidelines also reclassified the AFAs into five (5) types: Internship/Practicum/On-the-Job Training, On-Campus AFAs, Off-Campus AFAs, Special AFAs, and NSTP AFAs. By the end of the year, OFA Diliman had recorded a steady increase in the number of requests for the facilitation of these AFAs. As of December 12, 906 AFA requests were processed, doubling the data in 2022 with 417 AFA requests.
OFA Diliman also managed to process its first International AFA since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Two classes from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) flew to Seoul, South Korea last November to undergo a study tour in the Songdo Biocluster. OFA Diliman and OIL Diliman successfully ushered the implementation of the first approved post-pandemic I-AFA with constant and close communication among OFA Diliman, the Faculty-in-Charge, and other partner UPD offices.
This dramatic increase in the recorded data could be attributed to an increased awareness of the UP community on processing AFA requests. With this, the Office is hopeful that more faculty members will be facilitating F2F AFAs in the future.
To keep its stakeholders posted, the official website of OFA Diliman was regularly updated. The website serves as the office’s primary platform for disseminating relevant announcements or updates. There is also a section in the website that was dedicated to guide the faculty in filing their AFA requests. One of its new features is the AFA Gallery which was integrated to showcase photo documentation of UPD students participating in their respective field activities.
A major part of OFA Diliman’s work for 2023 focused on matters related to international academic field activities. Last October 20, the Office participated in the Orientation for the Implementation of the Enhanced Student Internship Abroad Program (SIAP) Guidelines conducted by the Commission on Higher Education, which signaled the lifting of the temporary suspension of the SIAP. The opportunity for the students to once again join the internship programs abroad coupled with the resurgence of international field activities, motivated the Office to initiate the development of the Guidelines on International Academic Field Activities (I-AFA) and International Internship/On-the-Job Training (OJT)/Practicum, in collaboration with OIL Diliman. A series of writing workshops were also held to develop both sets of guidelines which are expected to be released in 2024.
OFA Diliman also facilitated benchmarking activities with other universities that conduct SIAP to better develop the University’s guidelines for International Internships. In December, the Office held an online meeting with the representatives from Far Eastern University Manila, who generously shared their strategies and best practices in conducting SIAP.
In addition to local and international AFAs, OFA Diliman also managed to process 120 MOAs this year. This is compared to the 112 MOAs from the previous year. Of the MOAs processed in 2023, 29 are now valid (completely processed) and can be used by academic units for conducting internships and other relevant AFAs.
Apart from these, UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Vistan extended his support to OFA Diliman by assigning additional lawyers, with Atty. Paolo Tamase as lead, to assist in the review of the agreements that OFA Diliman handles. The appointed legal counsel, as stated in the Administrative Order No. ECLV 23-068, is expected to help expedite the processing of MOAs with the volume of partnerships facilitated by the unit.
The above are just a few of the highlights made possible by OFA Diliman and its partners.
After all the units had presented their annual accomplishments, the event concluded on a much lighter note as the OVCAA Socials Committee prepared participatory activities that allowed staff members to interact with both new and old faces from other offices.
2023 was indeed a year to further explore, innovate, and better deliver quality service to its stakeholders, especially with the lifting of pandemic restrictions and full transition to onsite learning. For 2024, OFA Diliman renews its commitment to continuously enhance its services to better serve the UP Diliman community and actively contribute to the overarching vision of the University.