INTERNATIONAL students may make up for the lack of freshmen during the K to 12 transition period, but a University official said that would not happen unless UST offers “more attractive” courses.

Lilian Sison, director of the Office of International Relations and Programs, said drawing international students would require revising the curriculum to make it more appealing to the international community.

“We are now moving into a K to 12 program so we need to revise our curriculum to make it comparable with our neighboring countries. We also need to offer more attractive courses and not just the generic ones,” Sison said in an interview.

The Varsitarian previously reported that international students would compensate for the lack of freshmen during the K to 12 transition period in academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, when high school graduates would be enrolling in additional grades 11 and 12 instead of first- and second-year college.

UST announced in June that it would offer only 13 of its 53 undergraduate programs, namely: accountancy, architecture, business administration major in financial management, business administration major in marketing management, communication arts, computer science, information technology, medical technology, music, music major in music education, pharmacy, physical education major in sports and wellness, and political science–as a response to the expected low number of first-year enrollees once the K to 12 program goes full swing. Master’s, doctorate, and other post-graduate programs would still be offered.

Sison also called for highly specialized courses during the transition period, pointing to Bicol University’s Masters of Arts in Public Administration program which focuses on disaster risk and prevention management.

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“There has to be a niche. Sa atin, public administration lang. Anong ibig sabihin nun? Walang focus.”

The Asian Studies program in the Faculty of Arts and Letters is also too broad in scope, she said.

“This is a very general program and there should be a focus. For students to really go to our country for deep immersions, these general course programs should be broken down into specific courses,” she said. “If our degree programs are more focused and highly specialized based on the expertise of our high-performing researchers, we can attract more international students and academics.”

Institute of Religion Assistant Director Catalina Lituaños said the University should look into the needs and interests of international students.

“Ano ba yung interest nila? Baka wala ‘yun sa University natin. Maybe we can add more programs. How can we encourage them to enroll in our University kung hindi nila makikita sa atin ‘yung hinahanap nilang specialization?” she said.

Lituaños said the University should review its course offerings and train faculty members in handling highly specialized courses as well as senior high school.

“Sa part ng faculty members dapat they are updated, very well informed and trained bago mo ipasok sa grade 11 and 12. We need a lot of preparation,” Lituaños said.

The University will be opening its senior high school program next academic year with the f+ollowing academic strands: liberal arts, education, and social sciences strand; accountancy and business management strand; music and arts strand; and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics strand.

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