April 9, 2016, 1:37p.m. – THE UNIVERSITY has set a target of 6,000 new students, mostly in senior high school, during the painful K to 12 transition next academic year to avoid incurring a shortfall in revenues, former rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. has bared.

This will be 3,000 students short of the normal freshman enrollment of 9,000 every year, as only 1,000 first-year college students are expected to enroll next academic year because of the implementation of the K to 12 basic education reform, said Fr. Dagohoy in a wide-ranging interview with the Varsitarian after ending his four-year term.

If UST fails to hit its enrollment targets, annual losses could hit around P200 million for the next five years, but this could be plugged by savings accumulated over years of prudent financial management, Fr. Dagohoy bared. The existing enrollment would also be able to support University operations, he said.

“We would be able to manage to absorb the huge losses for the next five years, but [UST] must look at other sources of income [and] hope that the number of students would return to normal after four [or] five years,” Fr. Dagohoy said. “We have huge bottom line [savings] every year … Mabuti nga tayo meron tayong naipon, kung wala tayong naipon mahihirapan ang University mag-absorb ng losses na yan.”

With high school students required to go through Grades 11 and 12 starting this June, there will be a significant reduction in enrollment in college programs for the years 2016 to 2022. Only around 40 advanced-level high schools will be able to send graduates to college next academic year.

As a result, the University will offer only 22 out of its existing 53 programs

Fr. Dagohoy said all universities face this problem, warning that some schools would be forced to shut down. “The P200-million [losses] will be incurred if [no students enroll] or only half the [target] is met. Ito ang problema ng madaming universities kaya ang nakikita natin, marami ang magco-close after a year or two.”


K to 12 readiness

Fr. Dagohoy gave the University a score of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 when it came to K to 12 preparedness.

“We don’t know really what would be the scenario. There will certainly be adjustments [because] nobody could claim that we are entirely K to 12-ready,” Fr. Dagohoy said.

But he cited the strength of the University in the implementation of the K to 12 basic education reform–tenured faculty members who can teach specialized subjects in UST Senior High School (SHS).

“Pagdating sa K to 12, maswerte ang University [kasi] in the first place,  we don’t have problem with tenured faculty,” Fr. Dagohoy said told the Varsitarian. 

Fr. Dagohoy again gave assurances that the University would retain 1,200 tenured faculty members this coming academic year, adding UST was still hiring SHS teachers. “We don’t have problem [because] even [some of the] tenured faculty would still have a load, because our [general education] is spread out until fourth year,” he said.

Fr. Dagohoy stepped down as rector last March 31, a month ahead of schedule, to give his successor more time to adjust ahead of the K to 12 transition. 

Vice Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. assumed the post of acting Rector, the first of a series of steps need to choose UST’s next rectorKathryn Jedi V. Baylon and Jerome P. Villanueva


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