We are not getting the best and the brightest – Br. Jun

The late Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC envisioned DLSU as an outstanding research university in the Philippines, encouraging innovation and development within the Lasallian community.

In creating a world-class research university, many factors need to be considered; one of which is the quality of enrollees admitted by academic institutions.


Maximizing student performance

College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Vice Dean Dr. Feorillo Demeterio III explains that Br. Andrew’s goal entails a need to recruit the best and the brightest students, from both public and private schools. He also believes that DLSU should exert more effort to acquire the best and the brightest in the country and aboard.

“It is very crucial that [our] students are very intelligent and are focused on their quest for knowledge. We also have to bear in mind that established research universities abroad that have more graduate than undergraduate students,” he points out.

“We can still pursue [Br. Andrew’s goal]as long as [our] undergraduate students are mature and are committed to perform and to undertake research,” Demeterio furthers.

Dr. Brian Gozun, Dean of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB), affirms the important role students have in forming a research university.  “You might have bad facilities, but if your students are thinking creatively, if they are critical thinkers, if they think internationally, that becomes world class,” he says.

DLSU President Br. Jun Erguiza, explains that majority of DLSU’s student population comes from Metro Manila. The focused demographic, he believes, might hinder the University from using the student body in promoting research.

Br. Jun says, “We are not getting the best and the brightest. You need the best and the brightest to get your research [done].” He follows, “Student quality has not significantly declined, we just have not been able to raise student quality.”

“We also want students from the other sectors, from the lower class, from the public schools to increase…we want more [students outside of that bracket], students from outside Luzon and from different clusters. The more students who know more about [DLSU], [the higher the possibility that] we will be able to [get good students who can do research],” Gozun explains.

Demeterio shares similar sentiments with Br. Jun. “There are other more qualified students from the lower income brackets who cannot afford to be here,” he explains.


The Vaugirard initiative

One of the ways DLSU attracts prospective students is through scholarships.

One of the more ambitious scholarship programs geared towards achieving this goal is the Vaugirard Scholarship Program. The program is an initiative under the Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Office, which aims to provide 50 new scholarships annually to public schools graduates from different parts of the country. The initiative will be implemented next academic year.

Br. Jun says that only 12-13% of the student population recieves full scholarhip, and it takes about P1.5 million to support a student for 4 years.  “We want to increase that [number],” he follows.

He justifies, saying “Even in our top 200 [DLSU-CAT passers], we are unable to get many of them. They go to the States, enroll in other universities, or go to UP because it is free. That is why we have to offer scholarships.”

Vaugirard is a location in France where St. John Baptist de La Salle founded his first novitiate.


A budding world-class research university

Becoming a world class university has always been the vision of DLSU, but the first fruits of the initiative have just taken effect.

Demeterio acknowledges that the University already has many of the necessary factors a world class university should have in check. “DLSU has very powerful infrastructure in terms of faculty member and in terms of research infrastructure. We offer formidable programs,” he explains.

Demeterio furthers that even with the aforementioned factors, DLSU’s [development] is still at its infancy. “The actual model of a research university that we are trying to follow is not yet in place; we are still in the process of conceptualizing how are we going to implement that European-Asian model of what a research university should be.”

He says that CLA is still in the stage of gradually introducing instructional models that encourage knowledge production from its professors, to aid the efforts of the University to reach its world-class goal.

David Pagulayan

By David Pagulayan

Justin Umali

By Justin Umali

8 replies on “We are not getting the best and the brightest – Br. Jun”

I used to study in a De La Salle that had CPA board topnotchers. Hell, not only that, but DLSC produced Jose Diokno, one of the most brilliant Filipinos that I have come to know. When you said La Salle you meant brilliant guys. Why is it that it’s now benchmarking athletes before anything else? How come the present generations can’t keep up with their brains? Something is wrong here.

In my opinion, the true sign of a world-class university is not the ability to recruit the best and the brightest, but the ability to create the best and the brightest with the people who enroll in the school. The school seems to be focusing on what I believe are the wrong goals. It’s sad that the school seems to think so highly of itself that whenever something bad happens, they prefer to blame and give up on students and just concede to recruiting better ones instead of improving the quality of teaching. What a sickening mentality for an educational institution. “We are not getting the best and the brightest”… should that matter?

But it does matter. In fact, DLSU still produces amazing students with its academic infrastructure. Sometimes though, the problem lies on whether the University would actually seek “University Class” students who are mature enough to take on the the kind of lessons.

The blend of issues now arise where the school is caught in a dilemma. Do we accept more students and lower entry quality to support our ever expanding academic activities? How does the University cope with the ever changing culture of the generations, while trying to keep up with its own standards?

I understand that there are many factors to consider in making a decision such as this and I don’t claim to know everything or even anything about managing a university. However, it disturbs me that in the process of deciding what to improve, the management seems to have concluded that student quality is the school’s weakest area. In a way, it feels like they are saying that the students are hindering DLSU, which “already has many of the necessary factors a world class university should have”, from becoming world class.

Why is it that when a student achieves something great, it’s attributed to the school’s academic infrastructure; but when results are not as good as expected, the school is quick to blame the students for not being good enough? If the school indeed considers other options for improvement, it would be nice to publicize those also because our knowledge is limited by what is publicized; and, as a student, I find this whole article quite insulting.

Hard to soar like an eagle (pardon the pun) when you have to fly with a bunch of turkeys….. A university cannot become a premier university if its students are second rate…. The best schools always tries to recruit the best………….

It’s because of that kind of thinking that turkeys aren’t able to soar. Such ideas are the reason that the students you call second rate are not able to achieve their true potential. FYI, turkeys do fly, but only in the right environment.

The article gives us Lasallians very strong reasons to be alarmed – not only at our university, but also at our selves.

Its terribly disheartening to hear that in the context of the student body, the university seems to put a larger emphasis on recruiting new talent rather than maximizing the potentials of what it already has. It’s very possible that there are factors in the academic environment that actually hinder talented and creative students from thinking critically and creatively, as what we’ve learned from encountering some professors who seem to delight in suppressing the promising ideas of their students, and some offices in the university who force students to follow impractical policies. Furthermore, maybe the faculty and the management simply needs to work in giving the student body a harder push, or more compelling rewards.

The problem however, is not entirely attributable to the management and faculty of DLSU. We, the students, also have to answer for the slack. Let’s not be inconsistent. If we want our beloved university to continue living its prestigious legacy, we have to constantly make efforts to make sure that all our outputs, be it academic or co-curricular, are excellent. How can we expect to be seen as competent students from a top-notch university when we keep settling for mediocrity? Passing sub-par academic requirements and organizing sub-par projects ultimately to graduate and use the prestigious name of DLSU, its student government, and its student organizations as leverage to make our resumes look good WILL NOT help our school’s true image, and our true image. It’s about time we roll up our sleeves and get to serious work. Many of our schoolmates have already set examples; it’s either we follow suite, or we remain floundering around our superficial world of parties and unnecessary luxuries, not noticing that we hinder our school’s progress and our own progress.

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