By: Prof. Ruby Rosa Jimenez
Dr. Patrick Azanza
Since 2008, the University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s one and only national university, has been overtaken by the Ateneo de Manila University in the Times Higher Education - Quacquarelli Symonds (THE-QS) world university ranking survey. In fact, in the recent 2010 Asian universities ranking, Ateneo ranked 58th while UP ranked only 78th among 200 Asian universities. There are comments from inside and outside of the academic halls that the quality of UP education has declined through the years. The present UP administration insists that the university did not participate in the said surveys but some quarters are not impressed with what they termed as a lame excuse for not being able to live up to the university’s tradition of academic excellence.
However, some UP student leaders even publicly acknowledge the declining quality of UP education. Despite the congressional approval of the UP Charter of 2008 which aims to modernize UP, the present administration has yet to make concrete steps to upgrade the salaries of its faculty and staff, and improve the university’s instructional and laboratory facilities. The serious consequences of the university’s inability to address its management and financial woes is summed up in the tally of the 2010 board topnotchers where out of 25 licensure examinations, UP only topped in four disciplines, namely: architecture, teacher education (elementary level), geodetic engineering, and nutritionist-dietician. This is a stark contrast to the performance of UP in the past decades when it used to dominate almost all of the country’s professional board examinations.
It is under this condition that the members of the UP Board of Regents will soon choose the next President of the country’s premiere university. Several groups of faculty members, academic leaders, administrative staff, students, and alumni of UP have already been echoing their demand for change in the way the university is being managed. They could not bear seeing UP further slide down as it confronts the challenges of the 21st century. Obviously, the university needs someone who has both the vision and the proven ability to modernize the institution.
(To read the rest of the feature story, please click on this link: http://diliman-diary-sidebars.blogspot.com/2010/09/feature-story-dr-patrick-azanza-ict.html)