At a time when uncertainty pervades amongst the leadership of Philippine educational institutions, as the country’s academia eases its way into educational reforms such as the K-12 and Outcomes and Typology-Based Quality Assurance, Dr. Patricia Licuanan, chairperson of Commission on Higher Education (CHED), made a comforting presence to the presidents of higher education institutions based in the south of Metro Manila who formed the Consortium of the South (COTS). The COTS member institutions are: Southville International School and Colleges (SISC); Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Calamba; University of Perpetual Help System (UPHS) Dalta; San Beda College (SBC) of Alabang; Olivarez College; PATTS College of Aeronautics; and De La Salle University (DLSU) Dasmariñas (on sabbatical).
Regarded as the first consortium outside the university belt or Mediola Consortium , Licuanan lauded COTS for the initiative to synergize in order to attain the following noble objectives: joint pursuit of quality education through sharing of resources and expertise; joint pursuit of advocacies to alleviate poverty in the local communities by giving access to quality education; joint pursuit of intelligent solutions to address concerns such as the imminent drought in higher education at the onset of the K-12 curriculum; and, collaborate with professional organizations in continuously upgrading the competencies of educators and enrichment of the curricula.
Having squeezed in a rare slot in her busy schedule, Licuanan delivered a brief message before formally inducting the new set of officers of COTS. In her message, Licuanan recommended to the new set of officers to “bring the synergy to a higher level, through articulation agreements amongst each member to allow students of one member institution to avail of the expertise of another member”. She elaborated by suggesting courses of action such as: first identifying the areas of expertise of each member school; agree on the sharing of faculty or facilities; and agree on allowing students to enroll to another member institution without having to transfer.
The new set of officers headed by the chairman, Dr. Marl Ferenal, president of SISC, welcomed the suggestion and vowed to include it in the regular agenda in the upcoming meetings. Ferenal also took the opportunity to raise up to the chairperson the idea to offset the impending drought in enrollment by shifting the target market to foreign students. He said “one of the strategies to draw these foreign students is to provide flexible learning methodologies such as the mix-mode approach (partly distance, partly face-to-face), and to optimize the delivery learning across borders through technology and the information highway”. The chairperson displayed her open-mindedness by encouraging the consortium to come up with proposals to this effect provided there are internal control systems to prevent its abuse.
The other COTS officers who were inducted were: Dom Clement Maria Roque, president SBC Alabang; Anthony Tamayo, president, UPHS Dalta; Dr. Eric Olivarez, president, Olivarez College (represented by Dr. Elmer De Leon); Dr. Oscar Bautista, EVP, LPU Calamba (represented by Dr. Remedios Lagera); Atty. Anna Katrina Cruz, EVP, PATTS College of Aeronautics.