Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Who runs the University of the Philippines?

On the occasion of UP’s 98th year

The University of the Philippines is the biggest university in the Philippines in terms of programs offered, subsidy from the State, probably student population and its impact on the nation. In two years it will be celebrating its centennial and the nation will have to assess on the role of the university in the past, present and future.

Now the question is who really makes the university run? Without these people, one hundred years of UP would have been for naught. Of course the members of the faculty, some of which are famous, the non-academic staff and the students make the university run. But there is one thing that seems to be a major factor; many UP Integrated School (UPIS) graduates are employed by the university! Many are members of the faculty, and even more are members of the non-academic staff.

Now isn’t it silly for someone who has spent studying from kindergarten to high school then to college and some even to their PhDs in UP decide to stay there? What is it with the university that attracts these graduates to stay there?  In America, Australia and Europe, academic mobility is preferred. It is almost unthinkable to teach in your alma mater. Your alma mater would discourage doing just that since it may promote inbreeding.

It is definitely not the salary. The reader must be tired of reading that UP professors, staff and other employees are poorly paid for their qualifications and workload. It is definitely not the facilities. In many buildings, the toilet needs fixing and it may take ages to have the lights changed.

It could be the green environment. After all, who can have an office in Metro Manila that faces a wide green expanse? Who can have free parking space still?

Or it could be family ties. After all the UPIS graduates are sons and daughters of UP profs and staff. Getting their kids to UP is probably the only decent benefit one can get from UP employment. Filipinos still value education thus the importance of getting kids to UPIS. And who can afford a private school education for their children on a UP salary?

The fact is that UPIS graduates are now occupying some of the leadership positions in academic departments and colleges. Some are heading non-academic units. Would they make a sort of MAFIA? Are UPIS graduates cliquish? I don’t think so. When we get together the only thing on our minds is our jobs, some jokes, and reminiscences and of course, what will happen to old UPIS!

So behold the next 100 years of the University of the Philippines

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