How to get a virtual UP education

- Boo Chanco -

For someone who got a UP education from high school to college, it is not surprising for me to recommend a UP education to those about to go to college. It is the only way to go, specially if you cannot afford the tuition in private institutions that only attempt to approximate the quality of a UP education.

But it is not easy getting into UP these days. Their admission criteria are a mishmash of academic standards and socio-economic status. This means someone from a family somewhat above the poverty level will have to be extraordinarily bright to get in, specially in so-called quota courses. It wasn’t this tough in our time.

Every year some 70,000 high school graduates take the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT). But UP Diliman can admit less than 10,000 students every year. UP colleges impose quotas on admission according to the capacity of their faculty and facilities that are often quite limited.

When my son took the UPCAT over 10 years ago, he made it past the academic and socio economic criteria to get into a quota course. But he decided to stay in Ateneo because his friends were there… and he was horrified about the dilapidated state of its facilities like the rest rooms. Oh well… Ateneo isn’t that bad as an alternative but it was expensive. Luckily, College Assurance Plan was still financially able to pay the bills.

If I had to send a child to college today but is unable to get to UP not because of academic reasons but because of the family income cut off, a good alternative that is a lot cheaper than Ateneo is Kalayaan College. No, Kalayaan College is not a fly by night diploma mill but is an academic institution with high aspirations, high academic standards and a topnotch faculty of retired UP faculty members.

I have heard of Kalayaan College but didn’t think much about it until last Saturday evening when I shared a table at Ray Orosa’s birthday party with Dr. Jose Abueva. Of course we all know and respect Dr. Abueva, UP president (1987-1993) and Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Administration at the State University.

Together with similarly minded retired UP professors committed to quality higher education and who are determined to make their retirement years productive, Dr. Abueva founded Kalayaan College in 2000. “We want many more students to get a UP quality education even if they cannot study in UP,” Dr. Abueva explained.

Aside from the retired UP professors, UP-quality education is also made possible by UP faculty lecturers under a memorandum of agreement between KC and UP Diliman. Because its financial resources are still limited, KC is still small. About a thousand students have studied at KC and only over 170 have graduated... which probably speaks of its high standards. 

Their vision for KC, according to Dr. Abueva, “is to have a leading center of learning, educating our share of tomorrow’s professionals and leaders who are committed to the ideals of building a just and humane society, fulfilling the material and spiritual needs of our nation, and contributing to global peace and human development.”

That mouthfull sounds like a motherhood statement expected of a college but because those respected UP professors are putting their all to the effort, there is a good chance Kalayaan College will one day be an educational institution Filipinos can be proud of.

The strength of Kalayaan College is its faculty. Consider the following prominent academicians who are in its board and/or teaching today:

Dr. Jose V. Abueva, president (UP President, 1987-1993, and UP Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Administration; BA. Cum laude, UP; MPA and PhD. in Political Science, The University of Michigan).

Dr. Gonzalo M. Jurado, VP for Finance and Administration (former UP Professor of Economics; BA, Far Eastern University; MA Economics, UP and Ph.D. Economics, University of Wisconsin).

Dr. Virginia S. Cariño, VP for student and alumni affairs (former UP Professor of Biology; BS and MS, Zoology, UP; M.S. Developmental Biology, University of Chicago; Ph.D, Environmental Science, UP).

Ms. Jaclyn Marie L. Cauyan, Registrar (BA Political Science and MA in Education, UP).

Professor Fe R. Arcinas, director (former UP Professor of Sociology; BA and MA, Sociology, UP).

Dr. Ma. Oliva Z. Domingo, director (UP Associate Professor of Public Administration; BAPA, MPA, DPA, UP; Director, Center for Leadership, Citizenship & Democracy, NCPAG, UP Diliman).

Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia, director (Professor of Economics, UP; BA Philosophy & Economics, University of San Carlos, MA in Economics, University of Bridgeport, Ph.D in Economics, University of California).

Francisco E. Josef, Director (BA Economics & MA in Business Administration, U.P; senior vice-president-Philippine Rural Banking Corp., Member-Bishop Businessmen Conference).

Baltazar Endriga CPA, director (BS Business Administration-Accountancy, Magna Cum Laude, University of the East, MBA, Harvard Business School, Graduate Studies in Economics, Ateneo de Manila Graduate School; Managing Partner, Endriga, Manangu & Associates.)

Because the student population is still low, the ratio with the professors is simply great. There is more opportunity for students to interact with the professors than would be possible in larger universities and colleges.

As it is in UP, academic freedom is basic at KC. “Kalayaan means the freedom of our students to develop to their full potential for their own good and the good of our country and humankind. Kalayaan also means education for freedom: to free the mind from the shackles of ignorance, intolerance and prejudice,” Dr. Abueva emphasizes.

Their stated objectives include:

Developing the students’ critical and creative faculties in the basic fields of knowledge, particularly in the natural and physical sciences, the social sciences and the humanities;

Developing their skills in communication in Filipino and English, mathematical reasoning, and scientific thinking to help them compete in a fast-changing environment;

Deepen their appreciation of our ethnic and cultural diversity and enhance their proficiency in their mother tongue or regional language;

Deepen their understanding of Filipino social and cultural realities and their transformation in the light of accelerating globalization;

Acquaint them with developments in information technology (IT) and its use in research and the creation of new knowledge;

Imbue them with a sense of history and a social conscience as they participate in the nation’s development and social transformation;

Enhance their appreciation of the visual and performing arts and how these can enrich their lives;

Make them understand the meaning and responsible exercise of human rights and academic freedom in a democracy; and thus

Help them become true professionals and good leaders and citizens fully conscious of their rights and duties in promoting the common good and national interest, and the welfare of humankind.

In other words, Dr. Abueva and colleagues want to give their students the UP kind of education we got in our time.

They are now offering courses for a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science, Psychology, Journalism, Literature, Public Administration, Early Childhood Care & Development, Secondary Education (English), Fine Arts (Major/Minor in Painting/Graphic Design) and Hotel & Restaurant Management.

Those who want more details can get in touch with Dr. Jose V. Abueva, president, Kalayaan College at 22 Manga Rd. corner Aurora Blvd., Quezon City, (beside Betty Go Belmonte Station, LRT2) with telephone numbers. (632) 467 0162 / 63 or email: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> .

While I have nothing to do with Kalayaan College, I thought such a worthwhile effort of some of the best educated Filipinos in our generation should be supported. They are doing something concrete about the need to provide a good education to our youth compared to most of us who only talk about it.

I also think this well kept secret must be shared because what this college offers should be good for our young people and good for the future of this country. Kalayaan College offers a virtual UP education which could prove to be as good if not better than the original.

Vote that counts

Reeling from the experience of our last elections and all the talk about command votes, Robin Tong e-mailed this one liner he picked up which describes our dilemma.

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is [email protected]. This and some past columns can also be viewed at www.boochanco.com











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