A Philippine University

It’s futile to argue that the value of the education it offers can’t be measured in terms of how many computers a school has and how well maintained are its flower beds, and that the worth of an educational institution lies in its human resources. For years, however, high school graduates have flocked to UP despite its rundown facilities because at least the fees it used to charge seemed reasonable.

As shallow as that may seem, it worked out well in the end. UP had the pick of the best and deserving, and the latter received the education the best minds of the country could provide. The fee increases seem to be changing all that, and in this sense the future may yet prove the decision to raise fees misplaced, though prodded by the need to augment inadequate funds from the state.

Its doors’ being open to as many Filipinos as possible is a major factor in its lead as an educational institution. But there’s also the fact that as a state university, UP’s educating the poor would seem to be a considerable part of its mandate.

It’s in this sense that the demand that it be a university of the people is being made, and you can’t do that if your fees are beyond even middle-class reach. At another level, however, being a university of the people also means offering a kind of education that’s devoted to both nation and country rather than to self. It’s always been implicit in UP culture-the assumption that, having been educated by the people whose taxes support UP, graduates will give back something in terms of using their skills and knowledge to help the people realize their aspirations for a better, more just, more equitable society. It’s summed up in the admonition, known to every UP student, to “serve the people.”

In a university ironically established under colonial auspices, but now immersed among a people struggling still for the same goals-social justice, freedom, progress-that over a hundred years ago the first Republican revolution in Asia had raised, it’s a commitment that should occupy a special place in every UP student’s and alumnus’ heart. Business World / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)

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