Miriam College gears for empty classrooms in 2016By Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Miriam College in Quezon City is gearing up to meet the challenge of 2016 when colleges and universities expect empty classrooms.
Because of the additional two years added to high school as part of the government’s K to 12 education reform program, very few incoming freshmen are expected by then with some college professors left with little to do.
Under the 12-year basic education cycle—kindergarten plus six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high—the high school seniors would not be moving on to college for two years beginning in 2016.
In Miriam College, a private, multilevel school, officials have formed a task force to map out plans for 2016 when college enrollment is expected to drop by 35 to 40 percent.
Rosario Oreta Lapus, Miriam College president, said the school was working on effective strategies to help address this expected drop in the number of new students.
Since the nonprofit school offers pre-school, elementary and high school education, and is not fully dependent on the college for income, Lapus said she hoped it would not be that heavily burdened by the temporary absence of freshmen.
“It’s a matter of coming up with a sufficient number of strategies that will allow us to survive and do well during those lean years,” Lapus said in a phone interview.
One strategy of the school is fielding college faculty to teach high school subjects.
Miriam’s high school is geared toward preparing students well for college courses, and it has college-standard electives that could earn students credit at the tertiary level, Lapus said. The college faculty would teach these courses, she said.
But this strategy would not cover all of the college faculty, which is why the school is considering offering alternative programs to entice more people to enroll, she explained.
“We are trying to develop more continuing education programs that will, in effect, make up for the loss of the college frehsmen income,” she said.
The school is also considering certificate programs on certain courses, as well as collaborating and teaming up with other schools in the Southeast Asian Region for exchange programs, she said.
“We’re trying to find ways of bringing in nontraditional students,” she said.
Despite these changes, Miriam College is supportive of the K to 12 program and believes it is a good move, Lapus said.
“This is a reform that we really think is a very valid reform, something that will bring value and benefits to the country and schools because it makes us globally competitive,” she said.