… To all the freshmen students and newly hired faculty members, congratulations for becoming part of Central Mindanao University… Many have aspired to enroll in this university but only few are chosen because of the strict admission policy. If I am not mistaken, only about 50% of those who took the CMUCAT qualified for admission in CMU this year…
Let me remind you, my dear students, that education is an investment itself. If we want quality education, then we must be willing to invest and pay for the right price. Among the SUCs in the country today, it is only CMU which charges the lowest tuition fee of PhP 90/unit. The government is subsidizing about 90% of the total cost of your education in CMU. Even the University of the Philippines’ students is now paying PhP 1000/unit of their tuition fees. I’m not saying that we have to be like UP charging that very high price. As much as possible we have to keep our tuition fee to the minimum and still affordable to the poor. That is why we have to optimize the use of our available resources including our titled lands so we can generate additional income to augment the declining budget allocation from the national government.
I hope we all agree that education is a collective responsibility… If we do, then we must be responsible enough to find solutions for our present problems and let us prepare and be ready for other future problems. What shall we do then? Some alternatives could be: (1) to assess the poor performance in the past in a broader perspective; (2) to work hand in hand and cooperate with one another to make improvements; and (3) to lobby that the government allocates more budget for education.
But with our present land problem, we are always at the mercy of powerful politicians. Assuming that we can lobby for a higher budget, but do we realize the economic implications of doing such? This only implies lower budget for other needs like food production, health care, social welfare, environmental concerns and other priorities of the government. The bottom line is, we should accept the fact that we are competing for limited resources. These are simply not enough to satisfy all our needs.
Therefore we must do the most for our education- the parents, the local government, the private sector, the development assistance community, and the civil society, to multiply the little that we have. But, to do this is not easy. You should not pass all burdens to the administrators. In your own little way, you can help carry the burden. As concerned individuals and as members of your respective organizations- the students, the faculty, the non-teaching staff, the alumni, among others, you have to do your roles and contribute to the overall operational efficiency of the university.
My dear students, despite the number of problems confronting the university today, it is by far the best university in the region. It has been providing quality education generally to the poor but deserving students in Mindanao at the lowest cost. CMU belongs to the top five performing schools in the country and is first in Mindanao in terms of performance in the licensure examinations in agriculture, forestry, veterinary medicine, engineering, accountancy, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, and teacher education, among others. Modesty aside, CMU is also the CHED Center of Excellence in Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine education and Center of Development in Biology and Mathematics education. The College of Agriculture was also awarded the National University for Agriculture under the CHED-National Fisheries Education System (NAFES)… Very recently, CMU is again included in the top 200+ universities in Asia.
The Accrediting Agency for Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP) has also awarded the Level III status for many of CMU’s degree programs. May be to some of you, these achievements may not be enough but we should always remember that CMU is one of the very few schools with this kind of performance. I had visited many SUCs in Central and Northern Luzon, and even in Mindanao being one of the team leaders of the CHED-NAFES evaluation that’s why I can compare and I am proud to inform you that we are blessed enough to be part of this university for many reasons… All these accomplishments are due to our commitment and quest for EXCELLENCE. And because YOU are now part of CMU, please do your share and become instrumental in the achievement of our vision and mission.
While in CMU therefore, you should always do your best… To let you know my dear friends, many of the most successful people are those who have suffered much and those who have gone through all the odds and difficulties, and many challenging experiences in life because they treasure and value the fruits of what they have worked for. While I am encouraging you to work hard, please do not forget to find and work for a balanced life. Do not let life become a monotony of hard work. You should take time and make your stay in CMU productive and meaningful. But while doing so, do not forget to seek the Divine guidance and inspiration from above. With GOD, you will never fail. Always do things with humility because if you humble yourself, there is greatness in you.
Let us all be one in aspiring that another world for CMU is still possible in which all individuals are recognized both as proactive, educated citizens, and as potential agents of change. We should envision our university embodying democratic values, making strong connections between and among our HEADS, our HEARTS and our HANDS. Let us all recognize our institutional goals to go beyond the generation of wealth and advancement of self-recognition. According to Mahatma Gandhi and I quote “let us all be the change that we want to see in others”. And drawing on the words of Thomas Paine, “we need to do it now in our own time, and not ask those who come after us to carry the burden we leave for them”. Collectively, let us all aspire and work to finding ways to achieve this lofty vision.