Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alfredo E Pascual is formally installed as University of the Philippines President

With the University of the Philippines (UP) and the rest of the public higher education sector facing Noynoy Aquino's budget cuts which resulted in UP slipping down in international university rankings, Alfredo E Pascual was formally installed as UP President today at the University Theatre in Diliman. The following photos are from the UP Information Office

Pascual is presented with the University Mace as symbol of his authority as chief academic officer
Mr Pascual reviews the Rayadillo Honor Guard.
The following photo is from my camera

Giving the investiture speech
In a ceremony with medieval roots, Pascual received from CHED Commissioner Dr Patricia Licuanan the symbols of office, the Mace and the Chain of Office. In one video spiel presented before the ceremonies, Fred Pascual seems to carry the Mace as if he were to hit and bludgeon those who threaten the UP with a budget cut! Very appropriate and true to the medieval ideal!  For the original use of the Mace is for professors to hit students who doze in class or the Sovereign and his lieutenants who would proscribe the liberties of the University. The University in medieval times enjoyed liberties that cannot be violated without a riot! And true to medieval fashion the riot is led by students!

Of course int he 21st century we don't riot but hold peaceful protests. The Noynoy budget cut in reality proscribes the freedom of the University in fulfilling its mandate to educate the young and advance knowledge, science, arts and culture. In his investiture speech Pascual reiterated that any money spent on the university is not an expense but an investment. Well said since Pascual was an investment banker who was with the Asian Development Bank before being elected by the Regents last year.

Pascual's speech focused on making the university more efficient in order to be globally competitive. He proposes an "e-UP" which would link up and harmonize all IT systems between campuses. He also proposes a "one UP" which would mean that all academic standards for programs in all campuses will be at par with each other. He also proposes reviewing the UPCAT admission procedure. He notes that there are many poor but deserving students who even if they passed the admission tests, can't enroll due to financial considerations. He also proposes reviewing the RGEP (general education) curriculum to ensure students are able to think, be grounded in ethics and the need to be introduced to entrepreneurship for national development.

For the faculty and staff, he proposes that there should be effective HR management and equitable benefits in health care and housing. To the applause of the professors, he reported that negotiations with partners are underway to realize these goals. He also promised to boost efforts to ensure research and creative work productivity in the goal of making the UP a globally competitive university.

To maximize the real estate assets of the university, he proposes a rational land use plan and also an initiative to make UP a "green" university. Of course this would require sustained alumni support and participation.

Surely the six year term of Pascual is not enough to see that all these goals are achieved but if he is able to do it, then the foundation for success should be assured. Future university presidents should build upon these necessary initiatives and reforms for making UP the great university it was and should be.

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