Just a few minutes before Mindanao University of Science & Technology could bless its newly built 5-storey Science Complex, and perform groundbreaking rites for the construction of four more buildings this year, Hon. Cong. Rufus Rodriguez, BOR member alluded as the Father of MUST, made another resounding pronouncement.

In his forceful speech, Congressman Rodriguez said that a bill will be drafted to transform MUST into the University of Science and Technology in the Philippines (USTP). He referred to the 292 hectares of land area owned by MUST in Lourdes, Alubijid as a strategic location for USTP since it is where an international airport would soon operate, thus make it accessible to others from all parts of the country and the world.

Cong. Rodriguez justified further that unlike other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Singapore, the Philippines has yet to come up with a national university that caters solely to science and technology. He mentioned that there must be a university that will receive the many graduates of science high schools nationwide for them to continue with higher studies in S & T. Building it in Mindanao will likewise aid in the decentralization of students still flocking to Manila for better higher education.

With Cong. Rodriguez as guests to MUST Days 2011 blessing and groundbreaking ceremonies were Hon. Patricia Benitez-Licuanan, national chair of the Commission on Higher Education and Hon. Congressman Juan Edgrado M. Angara  who is also chair of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education. Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras, president of MUST, was just so glad to welcome them all. With them were also other presidents of member schools of Mindanao Alliance of Schools, Colleges and Universities Foundation (MASCUF), and heads of government agencies in Cagayan de Oro.

Cong. Rodriguez said he already got the support of Hon. Patricia Benitez-Licuanan in the plan to convert MUST into a USTP. However, the CHED chair likewise said that amidst this grand plan must also be the help from all people, especially powerful ones, to rationalize CHED and bring improvement to the systems and standards of higher education that assure students of quality education.

Hon. Licuanan specified that problems abound in CHED.  It has been a free market – chaotic and wild, where schools of all kinds sprout from all directions. As mother of CHED, she appeals for help in the rationalization of Philippine education. One way is to amalgamate schools so they work together towards common ends. She further said that the dream of an S & T university can likewise bring together the strengths of other Philippines universities. While competition is good, she appeals for cooperation and harmony to also prevail as they are equally important in achieving the concerns of CHED.

article by Marisa Molina-Manlapig

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