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University status has to be earned

This news banner caught one's attention: "University of Mandaue, not just a City College". Further down, it stated in flamboyant manner as if becoming a university is that easy, thus: "Before it begins to construct a building for its newest school, Mandaue City wants the Mandaue City College renamed University of Mandaue City". Wow, how shamefully naïve!

It shows that the nascent Mandaue City College just starting this school year, is too far advanced in outlook to become University of Mandaue City in a wink of an eye. It doesn't have a school plant, the facilities, and the services for a complete school system. In short, starting from scratch.

It has yet to put up a building on a lot leased until year 2018, and for now holds classes at Dep-Ed's public elementary school. Operating solely as a college institution with tiered tertiary course offerings, naturally all freshman level as yet, there's no mention how it qualifies as a university and, with measly appropriation of P5 million.

This is not to belittle the lofty intention of aspiring, even this early, to establish it unto a university. But, the basic point is, that its realization is not that simple, or that fast, or that easy. It's not conferred by a mere ordinance of an LGU and, eureka, like Aladdin rubbing the magic lamp, out emerges the genie amid the mist to grant whatever wish! Or, as miraculous as a King Midas touching anything into gold!

In Cebu there are college institutions long existing and of good academic standing with complete system comprising the prep, the elementary, secondary, and tertiary offerings that haven't yet earned the university honors. There are St. Theresa and Immaculada as exclusive schools for girls, then CIT for another, even Salazar's SC-SIT, or the Lepiten-owned CRMC in Bogo, or the Cebu Eastern College, to name some. And, in Metro Manila, many tertiary schools are university aspirants, but haven't attained the educational Holy Grail, like, Mapua (MIT) and San Beda (SBC).

Perhaps, the only LGU-run school becoming a university over a long time, is the Pamantasan ng Maynila. But even the Pamantasan has been beset by the vagaries of politics whenever there's changing of the political guards or elective officialdom of Manila.

While the academe is basically manned by varying professional experts in various disciplines of masteral and doctorate post-graduate levels, operating a school is mainly "business". And "politics" and "business", like oil and water, don't mix.

With the LGU basically enmeshed in politics, and with politicians of polar diversity from that of a school as "business" venture, their merger is untenable. Even the state-run schools, like, the UP and its satellite campuses, are "failures" in financial stability to sustain their up-keep. Like private schools, they now exact prohibitive tuition fees.

Coming back to Mandaue City... Can it afford to support or subsidize a university? Is it prepared to spend multi-millions over the years for its school plant, various faculty of professionals, IT perks, library, laboratory equipment, research programs, and myriads of other expenses? Or, will it depend on, again, multi-million loans? If so, goodbye university!

Assuming arguendo that the present crop in power be committed to the long-term project, what assurance is there that the succession of local "politicos" be likely so committed? The reality is inescapable that in politics, the politicians come and go...

Thus, the lofty ambition to become a university is, indeed, commendable as a future dream. As the song goes: "I can dream... can't I?" In reality though... University status has to be earned over a long span of time. Other than the basic requirements, graduates of baccalaureate degrees have to take and pass examinations, like the Bar, or the Board in various disciplines. Their performance average, or the mean, vis-à-vis the national mean, are statistics sine qua non, among others, to determine if a college deserves a university status.

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