Illustration by R.I. M. CruzTHE FACULTY of Medicine and Surgery, one of the country’s leading medical schools, has gained recognition from Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) for the first time.

A letter from PAASCU dated May 25 confirmed Medicine’s Level 1 accreditation.

Medicine Dean Ma. Graciela Gonzaga said the faculty “re-applied” for accreditation after a preliminary visit held last 2005 went nowhere because of the lack of some requirements. She declined to elaborate.

Gonzaga said Medicine needed PAASCU accreditation to be recognized by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges, where Gonzaga is president. The faculty also has to reach Level 3 accreditation to be recognized by the Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation is a means of self-regulation supposed to improve the quality of education among schools.

Meanwhile, UST High School was given a year to prepare to gain the PAASCU’s seal of approval. Principal Eden Tolentino initiated plans to endorse the high school for PAASCU accreditation three years ago, but it was only last year when a PAASCU representative visited the high school department.

Tolentino said the accreditation process took “so long because of the department’s unstable status for the past seven years.”

“Before, there were plans of gradually phasing out ‘Pay High School’ because we are not earning (much) compared today,” she said.

A merger plan with the Education High School came up but did not materialize because parents of UST High School students opposed it, claiming it was “unfair” for them to pay higher tuition than those enrolled in the Education High School, the laboratory school of the College of Education.

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But despite the delay, Tolentino expressed optimism that UST High School would be accredited soon.

“Late consent to accreditation does not mean being unprepared. (UST High School) has been providing quality education for the past 81 years even without accreditation,” she said.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Clarita Carillo agreed.

“The one-year interval between the preliminary and formal survey visit strongly implies the readiness of High School to obtain an accredited status,” Carillo said in a letter to Tolentino, a copy of which was obtained by the Varsitarian.

In preparation for PAASCU’s formal survey, high school administrators are preparing a roster of 23 new programs and “refining” of eight others.

Included in the programs to be improved is faculty hiring, with more stringent standards such as requiring at least a second educational degree from applicants.

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