Members of the De La Salle University-Parents of University Students Organization (DLSU-PUSO) convened on Saturday, November 6, via Zoom for their Annual General Assembly to present the Board’s accomplishment report, as well as to conduct the elections for the new Board of Trustees. Meanwhile, University President and Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC introduced DLSU’s strategic plan for the gradual resumption of physical classes.
As the keynote speaker, Oca shared DLSU’s institutional achievements last school year, including the University’s rankings and accreditation status.
According to him, the University “remains a place of enormous possibility for good.” Recently, DLSU secured its place in the 1,201+ bracket as the “lone private university” included in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022. This comes after the University placed in the 401-500 bracket of THE Asia University Rankings 2021 in the past school year. It also placed 160th in the Quacquarelli Symonds Asia University Rankings 2022, solidifying its quality performance among various universities across Asia.
Furthermore, DLSU’s undergraduate and graduate programs have remained accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities; the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines; and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.—proving the quality of tertiary education that DLSU provides its students even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Future plans, challenges
For now, DLSU’s main focus is its three-year strategic plan, which includes the gradual reopening of the campus and the improving of students’ online learning experience. Since Alert Level 2 is currently placed over Metro Manila, this will pave the way for Phase 1, which calls for laboratory and thesis work on campus. This was evident when the University announced guidelines for on-campus activities and Type C classes in a recent Help Desk Announcement. Meanwhile, Phase 2, which will be carried out under Alert Level 1, will involve occasional in-person classes, limited extracurricular activities for fully vaccinated individuals, and a cap on daily campus population.
Thereafter, Phase 3 can begin once 70 percent of the national population and that of DLSU students are fully vaccinated. Classes will hold half of their sessions online and the other half within campus, but with a limit of 20 students per classroom. While students may be hoping for a return to pre-pandemic norms, this may not be the case. Post-pandemic, classes will remain half online and half in-person, and students will only be on campus twice a week for classes, with another day for extracurricular activities.
“Our unprecedented student intake this year makes it possible to operate without a deficit for the first time in five years,” Oca shared.
However, he cautioned that rising salary costs could cause DLSU to face another budget crisis. The University would have to either find alternative revenue sources or increase freshman intake from 3,800 students to 5,500 students yearly.
A more volatile job market upon graduation which could render certain professions obsolete is to be expected. In addition, Oca forecasts that difficulties in differentiating DLSU’s educational materials from that of other universities amid the shift to technology-enabled learning may also be encountered.
Better financial position for PUSO
Outgoing DLSU-PUSO President Dr. Felicitas Ducusin also shared that greater financial discipline, prudent spending, and the settlement of payables improved the organization’s financial position. These also allowed the disbursement of P4.75 million for 254 beneficiaries who either benefited from the college intervention fund or from the tuition fee assistance program. DLSU-PUSO was also able to revise its policy manual and operate under an updated business permit.
It also chaired the Multisectoral Consultative Committee on Tuition and Fees’ meetings and called for a zero-percent tuition fee increase (TFI), which was granted by the administration for Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022. This was on top of the zero-percent TFI in the previous AY. The organization also donated gadgets and mobile data to students during online classes and also held a medical mission for 400 beneficiaries.
It was also highlighted that P678,000 was turned over by the organization to support the University’s vaccination initiative.
“I am proud to say that we delivered, we provided, we tried. I cannot emphasize enough the value of working together to make ends meet and to make things work,” Ducusin told the attendees.