As the Philippine Normal University marks its 111th year of excellence, it strives to stand out in teaching education, producing caliber and quality teachers for our country, and bringing up the worth of education as the basic need of every Filipino citizen.

The Aquino Government has been neglecting its duty to give an accessible and quality education for all. The last year’s budget slash has been remarkable to all Iskolar ng Bayan, especially to PNU which received the biggest budget slash in terms of percentage (23.59%) that is equivalent to 92 MILLION PESOS.

The Philippine Constitution has mandated the government to allocate sufficient proportion of its budget to education, so a quality education must be accessible in each year level. However, the Philippines still has one of the lowest budget allocations to education among the ASEAN countries.

In connection with this, the Student Government-Manila was alarmed in the issue of merging of classes not only by two sections but four according to our student sources. It is clear that this situation is a reflection and a result of BUDGET CUT in our University.  It is also proven in all the researches and findings that merging of classes is not applicable and effective for innovative instructional delivery and this kind of scheme is just AN INSULT for us as the NATIONAL CENTER FOR TEACHER EDUCATION. This false solution being peddled by Administration will only deteriorate the wretched state education.

More, according to the research of National Union of Student of the Philippines (NUSP) and United Nations (UN), the suggestive and ideal ratio per class should be 1:25; the less number of children handled by one mentor, the more attention can be given to each individual especially if their learning competencies are not equal.  This means our university should offer more classrooms and other high-quality facilities, instead of merging classes.

This so-called “alternative strategy” is just a band-aid solution in coping with the instructional delivery of courses. What we need is to assert for a higher state subsidy to save our university from this temporary solution.

Meanwhile, according to the editorial of Altbatch (2004)the term “world-class university” has become a catch phrase, not simply for improving the quality of learning and research in tertiary education but also, more importantly, for developing the capacity to compete in the global tertiary education marketplace through the acquisition, adaptation, and creation of advanced knowledge. With students looking to attend the best possible tertiary institution that they can afford, often regardless of national borders, and with governments keen on maximizing the returns on their investments in universities, global standing is becoming an increasingly important concern for institutions around the world. The paradox of the world-class university, however, as someone has succinctly and accurately observed, is that “everyone wants one, no one knows what it is, and no one knows how to get one”.

PNU has been the threshold of new ideas and strategy in developing and upholding the education system of the Philippines, but the bottom line is, can we brag to the world that we have met the so-called “World Class” standard that the famous universities are claiming for?

If class merging will be implemented, it could affect the performance of our university in the licensure examination due to inconvenience in teaching and in learning. This possible effect would constitute to our university’s decreasing chance to be tagged as a competitive and a world-class PNU.

PNU SG Manila conducted a random survey among PNUan from different year level and colleges last June 10, 2011,  if they are in favor of merging of classes, and  out of 200 respondents 163 students equivalent to 82% said NO while 37 students equivalent to 18% said YES.

It is clear and obvious that the majority of the students are not in favor on that kind of scheme, a number of commentary from the students believed that it will not be efficient if two or more sections have merged because of some instance like; first, the question of how large class sizes might affect a student’s ability to learn, Second, overcrowding has negative effect, both classroom activities and instructional techniques. Third,    Professors must constantly struggle simply to maintain order in an overcrowded classroom because of merging of classes and might be difficult for the students to concentrate and focus on their lessons.

Moreover, this only proves the possible effects not just to the studentry but also to the whole PNU community and once this kind of system will continue, PNU may not be able to STAND its title as “The National Center for Teacher Education” provided by the law.

by: John Clifford E. Sibayan, PNU Student Government

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