The new House Bill No. 1743 aims for the setting up of a distinct national university similar to the University of the Philippines, in Southern Philippines which will be headed by a President, a separate and smaller BOR but still headed by the CHED Chair.
But what brings us to separation? Why is there a need for IIT to be separated from the MSU System? Eleven reasons were enumerated by the IITNU Presentation (Click here):
1. Grants intended for the entire university usually end up only in MSU Marawi.
2. Being viewed as just one university, MSU is provided only one item each for important positions by Civil Service and DBM, e.g. Registrar, Librarian, Chief Security, PPD Director, Medical Director, HR Manager, etc and all of these are given to MSU Marawi.
3. The Institute gets penalized for breaches of contracts with external agencies committed by faculty members in another campus.
4. Poor performance of other units of the MSU System has adverse effects on budget allocations, (e.g. normative funding) for the entire University System, including IIT.
5. Proposals for the offering of some new programs were obstructed.
6. Faculty promotions of faculty members for Associate Professorship and up have to be reviewed by MSU Marawi, which involves a very long process.
7. Being part of MSU, IIT has become vulnerable to the so-called “Marawi politics”.
8. Constricting bureaucratic procedures and policies, political interference.
9. As a unit of MSU, we cannot apply for land grant.
10. As an external campus cost center heads should only have a maximum salary grade of 18, thus existing items beyond 18 are classified as CT positions. This is the reason why the positions of Registrar, Librarian, Chief Security, PPD Director, Medical Director, HR Manager, IT Director were deleted in our plantilla of personnel. Being viewed as just one university, all these said positions are given to MSU Marawi.
11. Level of Authority of the Chancellor in the MSUS Management Matrix is very limited since he can only sign contracts up to PhP 2M. All contracts beyond PhP 2M should be brought to Marawi for the signature of the President. Contracts and MOAs have to be signed by the MSU President.
Looking into the significant provisions of the bill, the following are the perceived advantages from MSU separation:
1. A bigger budget share for Higher Education
2. Access to quality and state of the art education for the Mindanaoans
3. A Research University as clearly stipulated in the proposed bill
4. Can apply for a land grant, can invest and own properties (like UP-Diliman)
5. Faster promotions and retention of all existing privileges of personnel
6. Proposals for new and innovative programs are always evaluated in terms of the implementing capabilities of other units, many of which are far behind IIT.
7. Additional layers of decision-making in the system unnecessarily delay implementation of plans, programs and projects. For example, a simple curriculum revision designed to be responsive to the challenges of the times would still need the approval of all the other ten campuses before these can be submitted to the Board of Regents for its consideration.
To further enlighten us on the nitty-gritty, I compiled the Frequently Asked Questions about the bill:
HB 1743 Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 1: What will be the benefits of the conversion to students?
1.Assured representation in the Board of Regents. (Section 3.g)
2.Equal access to quality, market-driven, and cutting-edge academic programs
(e.g. Mechatronics, Bio-informatics, Animation, Film and Production, Communication Arts, Development Communication, Culinary Arts, etc.).
3. More academic scholarships in all disciplines, (e.g. Polsci., History, Accountancy, Education, Marketing, etc.).
4. Faster implementation of curricular revisions.
5. With bigger budget, better facilities and more academic programs for the students.
6.Better chances for poor but deserving students through scholarships and socialized tuition schemes.
7. IITNU will have its own distinct representations to interuniversity/ state competitions, fora, etc.
8. Additional courses
FAQ 2: Won’t this move lead to Increase of Tuition and Other Fees?
No. Increase in tuition is not automatic. Any increase in tuition and other fees will be done only after a thorough consultation with all sectors concerned, especially the
students. This is enshrined in the bill.
The University will “Fix the tuition fees and other necessary school charges, such as but not limited to matriculation fees, graduation fees and laboratory fees, as the Board may deem proper to impose, after due consultations with the involved sectors” (Section 21.o)
Moreover, the bill provides for scholarship programs and other affirmative action programs to assist poor but deserving students in all disciplines. IPs will be given preferential treatment.
Sec. 18. Scholarship Program and Admission. – The University shall provide a scholarship program and other affirmative action programs to assist poor but deserving students, includeing special programs for those who come from the indigenous communities, who qualify for admission to the University.
FAQ 3: Won’t this move lead to Localization or politicization of IIT?
No. The proposed bill ensures that IIT will maintain not only its present character and stature but in fact aims to upgrade into the national university in Southern Philippines. Also, the structure of the Board of Regents in the bill guarantees that governance is free from local politics.
FAQ 4: Won’t this move lead to Privatization/ Commercialization of IIT?
No. The bill stipulates that IIT will remain a state university, the mandate of which is to make quality education accessible and affordable to the people of Southern Philippines.
The things that will be privatized are only “the management or non-academic services such as health, food, building or grounds or property maintenance and such other similar activities” (Section 5.R).
FAQ 5: Won’t this move lead to Decrease in Salaries and Other Benefits?
No. We are covered by the Salary Standardization Law. The bill ensures
that there is no diminution in salaries and other benefits. In fact, the bill allows the
granting of special allowances to ensure the retention of the most qualified
personnel. (Section 21)
In order to continue to attract and maintain an excellent pool of teaching personnel, all faculty members of the University may be granted special allowances upon approval of the Board, up to a maximum amount equivalent to one hundred percent of the basic monthly salary specified for their respective salary grades under Republic Act No. 6758, as amended, otherwise known as the “Salary Standardization Law”.
The bill assures additional funds to the new university, being national in scope as reflected in the title itself.
FAQ 6: Can we not upgrade while we are still a part of MSU System?
No. The problems of IIT are largely caused by the system governance and from the fact that units/campuses of MSUS are of different levels and conditions of development. The policies proposed by IIT to address its needs are not approved because other campuses are unable to implement them. Curricular revisions, even just a change in course content in order to be responsive to present needs, have to approved by the other campuses.
FAQ 7: Won’t we lose IIT’s privileges as part of MSU?
No, the bill ensures provisions to retain all these privileges currently enjoyed by IIT and its employees (Section 22 in Bill).
FAQ 8: Why change the name into IIT National University (IITNU)?
“IIT” is our brand which is recognized not only nationally but also internationally.The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, which was converted into a university after 123 years of existence, retained the name RMIT and became RMIT University. Also, Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) retained its name instead of changing to Malayan University because of the name’s value.
FAQ 9: Won’t this move lead to the Disintegration of the MSU System?
No. IIT is only one campus. MSU System has 10 other campuses with their own respective thrusts and strengths.
FAQ 10: Won’t this move affect Muslim-Christian relations?
No. The move to an independent universityhood is a product of a growth and development process and therefore should not be viewed as anti-Muslim.
In fact, IIT, among all other campuses of the MSUS is the most active in promoting peace and development, multiculturalism, and dialogue, through its Institute of Peace and Development for Mindanao (IPDM), and will remain so.
IITNU will always continue to promote harmonious relationships among all peoples in Mindanao.
FAQ 11: How about the appropriations?
The amount of needed to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be charged the current year’s appropriations of the MSU-IIT. Such additional amount as may be necessary for the effective implementation of this Act shall be funded from the appropriations for the Commission on Higher Educaiton under the current General Appropriations Act. Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary for the continued operation and maintenance of the University shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act. (Section 24)
On a personal note, there are some things we should also carefully look into. In some discussions and fora that I have heard, I feel that the socialized scheme of the tuition fee enshrined can be a source of problem for most students.
Historically, the socialized scheme of tuition fees was first implemented last more than 2 decades ago in UP. True to its essence, the tuition fee in UP ballooned from Php 17.00 per unit to Php 200.00 in the first year of its implementation alone.
The bracketing system is biased towards making the students pay that even the poorest will only be minimally subsidized for their education. In the University of the Philippines experience, 13 years after the implementation of socialized scheme of tuition fee, 83.6% of the students ended up paying full tuition (Bracket 9) and only 8.6% enjoys full waiver of tuition (Brackets 1-4 / low family income brackets). This might also happen in the IITNU with the socialized tuition fee.
Secondly, the proposed law transforming MSU-IIT into a university must better be designed and formulated by the IIT constituents taking into full considerations its current needs, its purpose and path to growth (like what happened to the new UP Charter). Bakit kaya ang mga politiko ang gumagawa?
According to Philip Altbach (2004), a world-class university should have the following characteristics:
1. Excellence in research is the primary criterion, requiring top-quality professors. Favourable working conditions are also necessary, including job security and good salary and benefits for academic staff.
2. Academic freedom, allowing professors and students to pursue knowledge wherever it leads, and the ability to publish without fear of sanctions by academic or external authorities.
3. Institutional self-governance, in which the academic community has significant control over the central elements of university life – admission of students, curriculum, criteria for degrees, and selection of new members of the professoriate
4. Adequate facilities, appropriate to the discipline, for both teaching and research.
5. Adequate funding, consistent and long-term.
6. An atmosphere of intellectual excitement.
Our glorious MSU-IIT at present cannot perfect its distinction if its academic and administrative management is dictated by the system. A school like MSU-IIT can’t realize its vision to be “a world class institution” with so many restrictions/limitations within the system.
POLL SURVEY RESULTS:
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