Lobregat wants WMSU External Studies Unit in Curuan sustained PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 16:01

Barring all hitches, Mayor Celso Lobregat wants the Western Mindanao State University’s External Studies Unit in Curuan sustained in a bid to provide college students in that part of the city access to quality higher education.

Mayor Lobregat stressed this out after meeting Monday with WMSU President Dr. Grace Rebollos, WMSU dean of External Studies Unit, WMSU Chief of Staff Yvone Ramos, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Regional Director Dr. Emmylou Yanga and her staff together with Curuan barangay official headed by Chairman Noel Perez and Dr. Laarmi Abad, principal of Curuan National High School.

Lobregat said the WMSU-Curuan External Unit has been in operation since last year pursuant to Resolution No. 20 of the University’s Board of Regents following a feasibility study on the need to establish the said tertiary unit adopting the WMSU Curricula for BS Education and Information Technology.

Board Resolution No. 20 series of 2010 states, “Resolve to approve the opening of the Western Mindanao State University External Studies Unit in Barangay Curuan, Zamboanga City subject to compliance with the criteria, guidelines and policy standards of the Commission on Higher Education in the opening external studies units, external campuses, consortiums and autonomous campuses.” 

For last year, the WMSU Curuan External Unit was occupying some rooms or sharing the facilities of Curuan National High School by night time with close to 90 students, mostly working by day time.  

“After a year of operation, an evaluation was made by CHEd and it was found out there were many things that have yet to be done to improve the operation and to be complied with. And so, WMSU was saying to continue its external unit in Curuan for this year and then evaluate it again after another year to two,” Lobregat said.

The mayor pointed out that the tertiary unit in Curuan is purely an endeavor between WMSU and Curuan NHS and that the city government is out of the picture. Notwithstanding, he said the city has constructed a two-storey building with nine rooms worth P9 million at Curuan NHS, part of which (at least two rooms) will be for the exclusive use of the WMSU External Studies Unit.

In addition, he instructed the barangay officials to make Curuan gym, particularly the lower portion, available for the tertiary unit.

Lobregat also urged the people of Curuan and barangay officials to help the WMSU External Studies Unit by campaigning for more students and prompt payment of tuition fees. “The success of this tertiary unit is dependent on the number of students enrolled and tuition fee paid,” he said.

For her part, Dr. Rebollos expressed strong desire to have the WMSU Curuan External Studies Unit sustained even as she appealed to CHEd to loosen its policy standards, stressing that the unit started virtually from nothing except sharing the resources of CNHS.

“We feel that we must give people in the rural areas and island barangays access to quality higher education,” Dr. Rebollos said, pointing out that WMSU has been operating external units or campuses in the outlying provinces since 1970s, or even long before CHEd came to existence.

She hinted that time is ripe for WMSU to have its external campus within the city as she lamented that two of the University’s autonomous campuses in the neighboring provinces had already been annexed by other schools upon the prodding of certain politicians.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rebollos set another meeting on the matter to be held Friday afternoon at WMSU, this time to discuss the system on how to manage the external unit vis-à-vis the academic, faculty requirements and financial safeguards. — Vic Larato