Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Former CMC Dean Luis Teodoro, in his latest article, writes about the relevance of the University of the Philippines in today's society, in light of the upcoming elections for the UP Presidency.

He didn't paint a pretty picture, to say the least:

Unfortunately, like most UP students who couldn’t care less, the public is not overly interested in who’s going to run UP for the next six years, primarily because they can’t see what relevance UP has to them.

True, some parents still think a UP education’s the surest way to riches, mostly through a UP College of Law or College of Medicine degree. But even that’s giving way to the thought that sending Junior to STI or AMA instead for a care-giver’s course so he can learn how to scour bedpans in a US nursing home could be simpler and even better.

This is UP’s current tragedy. Its relevance to Filipinos during the last several decades has become limited to how much more a UP degree can guarantee a good job than other universities–and even that belief is fading. What’s worse is that the more discerning, including some UP alumni themselves, tend to see UP as an institution that at the very least owes the Filipino people an explanation.


Considering the state of the country, and the pre-eminence of UP alumni in keeping it firmly on the road to economic, political and judicial perdition, shouldn’t UP be actually apologizing to the country rather than crowing about how many senators, justices, congressmen, presidents and secretaries of economic development and planning it has contributed to the government–not to mention the hordes of crooked lawyers, operators and corrupt businessmen it’s graduated?

But of even greater interest is how UP can change all that in the future, in terms of how the training it provides can actually make people ethical as well as skilled–in the arts of governance, for example, or in the practice of law, or, for that matter, in the mass media–so that, if they do end up in government, they can help end corruption rather than contribute to it.

In addition, it was asked during the same consultation, can’t UP training do something about the “departure-lounge syndrome"–meaning the widespread desire to leave the country to make money abroad the minute one gets a diploma? It’s not only the graduates of Fatima College of Medicine who make for the airport upon passing the Medical Board exams, after all. Entire UP College of Medicine classes have also been known to leave for the US within months of graduation.


UP has no other recourse but to find the road that would lead to something other than collective perdition. Otherwise the Filipino people might as well save their money and shut down UP, or else just keep it hobbling along in slow decay. Its sole consolation would then be only the fact that, at least, Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia and all those stalwarts of Philippine Military Academy class 1971 now under investigation for corruption and various other offenses are not its alumni, and that there’s actually a school other than UP Filipinos can blame for the country’s woes.


We all know that we have the best educational system, despite the budget cuts, the demonstrations, the invitatoin of greener pastures. Yet, the problem is in the administration of the government. It still has to focus on the academe, and in creating more extensive opprtunities for the taga-UP. Sometimes, I want my 4th yr hoghschool sister to take up nursing instead of medicine...and it can be shameful, considering that we, her ates, are from UPLB (one is taking up APhy). Frankly, in the years that have passed, though UP has given me much training grounds, the country does not need a lot...


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