THE UNIVERSITY is set to offer an early retirement program to tenured faculty members with no master’s degrees in a bid to improve UST’s faculty profile.

The voluntary retirement program (VRP) will grant 120 percent of basic monthly salary per year of service to faculty members below 63 years old and who have “rendered 10 years of creditable service period,” according to a document obtained by the Varsitarian.

The VRP will be offered from Nov. 5 to Dec. 18. Any faculty member who wants to retire voluntarily will have to submit an application to the Office of the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, which will then endorse it to the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance.

The Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 46 series of 2012 requires all full-time tenured faculty members to have master’s degrees by 2014 for the University to maintain university and autonomous status. CMO 46 was the basis of early retirement package for faculty members without master’s degrees.

“Those who are not interested to pursue the completion of their master’s degrees may apply for the Voluntary Retirement Program,” the document stated.

The University’s non-teaching employees were earlier given the option to retire early in 2012.

Solution

Rene Tadle, Faculty Union internal vice president, said the problem on faculty members without master’s degrees may be solved “without asking them to retire” by letting them to teach senior high school students under the K to 12 program.

“[I] would like to believe that the K to 12 program will actually solve the problem because the K to 12 Law allows the faculty to teach grades 11 and 12 even if they do not have MA degrees. We might as well assign these people to teach [there],” he said.

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The Enhanced Basic Education Act, or the K to 12 Law, permits faculty of higher education institutions to teach in secondary education even without passing the licensure exam for teachers, provided they hold a bachelor’s degree relevant to the subject they intend to teach.

Tadle said it is still the faculty member’s choice to retire early, but the Union has the responsibility to protect its members’ rights. “I’d just like to take note that this is voluntary retirement. We leave [the decision] to the individual faculty member,” he said. “[The Union makes] sure that the rights of the faculty members as embodied in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will always be respected by UST. For example, if a faculty member has served the University for a long time, he has acquired tenure. That tenure has to be respected.”

According to Republic Act 7641 or the Retirement Pay Law, employees aged 60 to 64 years old who have served an establishment for at least five years may seek early retirement and receive half a month of salary for every year of service even in the absence of a retirement plan.

However, there is no provision on early retirement in the existing CBA between the faculty and the UST administration.

In 2010, faculty members without master’s degrees were asked to sign a waiver renouncing their right to tenureship, following the University’s strict implementation of the CHEd order requiring college teachers to have master’s degrees.

There are more or less 120 tenured faculty members who have yet to get their master’s, said Tadle.

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