The University of the Philippines – Visayas is once again facing another challenge. Despite the resistance of many of the Iskolars ng Bayan, faculty and community, the scheme of gradually phasing out the UPV Cebu High School has been railroaded.
Last 8 January 2010, the UPV Cebu College Dean Enrique Avila wrote a letter to U.P. President Emerlinda Roman stating that “…the College shall soon propose the gradual phase out of the high school effective first semester of school year 2010-2011. With this, the high school admission test proposed for March 2010 will consequently be cancelled.”
This letter was then followed by a memorandum issued by the Dean himself to the Professional Education Department (PED) Chair Rosario Montaño on the suspension of the acceptance of High School Admission Test (HSAT) of U.P. Cebu High School. The memorandum states that due to the lack of faculty resources, the profile of the current faculty complement servicing the high school, the refocusing of the College’s academic programs and plans and the priorities set by the UP System and the new UP Charter of 2008, the UPV Cebu College is no longer in the position to sustain ably the implementation of the high school. Moreover it enunciated that the acceptance of applicants for the proposed HSAT on March be suspended due to the pending resolution of the proposal to phase out the high school gradually.
The desperate moves of the Dean to abolish the high school did not go through apt process of consulting the students and the faculty and does not hold ample basis to act upon.
Since the establishment of the U.P. Cebu High School, it has been faced threats of closure because of the lack of budget. But it still continued to exist because of its mandate of Democratized Access to Education wherein, under this policy, all U.P. High Schools is a program that helps economically destitute but intellectually deserving students gain access to tertiary education. Moreover, it also serves as a laboratory high school for innovative teaching strategies premeditated to better prepare these deserving students for access to tertiary education, particularly in University of the Philippines, where they can avail quality college education at a low cost.
As Iskolars ng Bayan, we have always played a crucial role on shaping momentous changes and junctures in our history. We remain steadfast in all our endeavors, whether it is a national or local issue that affects the nation. We never faltered even in the midst of Martial Rule. Instead, with our arms linked together, we faced every struggle and continued our immeasurable commitment of serving not only the students but also the people.
Today, we, the Iskolars ng Bayan, have a vital and decisive task to act upon. We cannot stay unvoiced and unresponsive while our future and our rights as students are being compromised for untimely and contemptible scheme that deflects the primary purpose of our University.
The Iskolars ng Bayan are wide awake and are ready to lead the fight for asserting their right to accessible quality yet affordable education. Once again, time has brought us into the arena where the secret weapons to triumph are critical minds and unity.
We believe that U.P., as an insignia of freethinking education, must uphold its commitment in uplifting quality education which is non-discriminating and is accessible to all. Thus, we recognize the role of U.P. High Schools in advancing the value of nationalism and freedom among its students for a more developed and progressive Philippine society.
We greatly convey our unity to the Students, Student Councils, Student Organizations, Faculty Members and all the constituents of the University of the Philippines – Visayas Cebu College who have spoken their opposition to Dean Enrique M. Avila’s ploy on the gradual abolition of UPV Cebu High School. We contest the moves of phasing out the UPV Cebu High School on the following grounds:
• The attempt of phasing out the UPV Cebu High School by Dean Enrique Avila does not serve the interest and welfare of the students, the faculties and the community. UPV Cebu High School, for many years, has served as an institution that provides the youth affordable, accessible and quality education through its mandate of Democratized Access to Education. With this step of phasing out the high school, U.P. therefore closes its doors to those want to avail a quality education which U.P. can offer.
• Phasing out of UPV Cebu High School is a step railroading further commercialization of U.P. Education. This plan can be linked to the gradual state abandonment among State Colleges and Universities. With the budget proposed by the Department of Budget and Management to U.P. and the whole education, which was cut from the previous year’s budget, it can be drawn out that the government may be making steps to slowly desert their responsibility of allotting greater state subsidies to its SCUs which results to disbanding of other state-owned universities in the country.
• This move by Dean Enrique M. Avila does not undergo due process of consultation among students and faculty members. Moreover, the High School Faculty has not received a copy of the proposal by the dean. This is an apparent move ignoring RA 9500, also known as the new U.P. Charter as of 2009, in which it was stipulated under Section 3 (h) that “As the National University, the University of the Philippines shall provide democratic governance in the University based on collegiality, representation, accountability, transparency and active participation of its constituents. ” Moreover, pursuant to Section 13 (c) of the charter, only the Board of Regents (BOR) has the power to approve institution, merger or abolition of academic programs upon recommendation of the University Council of the constituent university. Furthermore, the letter dated last 8 January 2010 to President Emerlinda Roman by Dean Avila did not even pass through proper channels by having it pass first to the UPV Chancellor. With this, the bid of phasing out U.P. High School in Cebu without due process and ample grounds is a despicable move that does not recognize the rights and welfare of its constituents.
• Closure of U.P. High is not the answer for the lack of budget and aging facilities of the college. It is not as well an obstruction to make UPVCC a constituent university of UP. It must be regarded that the budget for the university has been gradually cut each year. However, this must not be the basis of imposing policies that can downbeat the constituents. Instead of eliminating a significant limb of the University, being in an educational institution, University officials, together with its constituents, must assert and fight for greater state subsidy to answer the call of insufficiency.
• This step of phasing out the UPV Cebu High School will aggravate the colonial, commercialized, repressive and fascist characteristics of U.P. and education. As a bastion of democracy, the University of the Philippines must provide an affordable, accessible and quality education among its students and to all. It must also cater the interest and welfare of its constituents – the students, faculty, staff and the community. Phasing out an academic institution that serves the interest of the people such as U.P. High steals not only the right of the people to education but also their right to have a bright future.
We call on all students, student organizations, student leaders, teachers, staff and all UPV constituents to avert the dire steps of phasing out the UPV Cebu High School. The desperate moves of Dean Enrique Avila to discontinue the existence of U.P. High in Cebu despite the honor and service that the high school has given to the University and the community have set profound disgruntlement among the students, teachers and the people in the community.
We strongly deem the sovereign right that lays on the students, the youth and the people to totally succeed the struggle to overpower the ambitious ideas that undermine the interests and the welfare of the people with irrefutable principles that can genuinely unite the students and the people and can bring forth meaningful victory.
Signed by (As of 22 January 2010):
Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa U.P. (KASAMA sa U.P.)
UPV College of Arts and Sciences – Student Council (UPV CAS-SC)
UPV College of Fisheries and Ocean Science – Student Council (UPV CFOS-SC)
UPV School of Technology – Student Council (UPV SOTECH-SC)
National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)
League of Filipino Students (LFS)
Pagbutlak (Official Publication of CAS)
College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)
Sandigan ng Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (SAMASA)
Samahan ng Mag-aaral at Kabataang Kababaihan (SAMAKA-KA)