Cayetano to UP suspending UPCAT anew: What are you doing with your budget?
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday questioned the University of the Philippines (UP) regarding its budget management on the student admission system following the suspension anew of the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT).
For the third time, UP has suspended its entrance exams following the COVID-19 pandemic, making Cayetano feel curious about how UP has come behind other universities that were able to conduct admission tests amid the health crisis.
“The thing is UP gets 23.41% of the budget of all (State Universities and Colleges) around the country. Bakit ‘yung La Salle, Ateneo, iba, either nag-innovate or meron na sila entrance exam, how come UP for that budget, despite my defenses with UP, I’ve never advocated a budget cut,” Cayetano said.
(The thing is, UP gets 23.41% of the budget of all [State Universities and Colleges] around the country. How come Ateneo, La Salle, or others either innovate or have their entrance exams? How come UP with that budget? Despite my defenses with UP, I’ve never advocated a budget cut.)
“For me, this is an issue, parang talagang gusto ko tanungin, ano ginagawa niyo sa pera niyo? The quality of your education will, yes, depend on your faculty, but it will also depend on the quality of students. If the best of the best papakawalan mo, sayang,” the senator added.
(For me, this is an issue. I want to ask what you are doing in your budget. The quality of your education will depend on your faculty, but it will also depend on the quality of students. If we let go of the best of the best, it would be a waste.)
Cayetano cited a report showing how Philippine Science High School’s high passing rate of 97% to 99% in the UPCAT dropped to as low as 60.55% after it was suspended due to pandemic restrictions.
He said the drop in passing rates applies to the Philippine Science High School and different high schools across the country.
With this, the senator also questioned the university’s current admission method citing differences in the grading systems of students per school.
“If sinabi lang sa amin ng UP na we will not get the best of the best in the next three years kasi hindi kami mag-U-UPCAT, eh ‘di sana in-advise na rin namin ‘yung mga teachers taas-taasan ‘yung grades ng mga ‘yan or ‘di kaya sa iba na namin ilalagay yung scholarships,” he said.
(If UP told us that we would not get the best of the best in the next three years because we would not hold UPCAT, we could have advised our teachers to give high grades to students, or we could have allocated the scholarships to others.)
In the absence of UPCAT, the university adopted the UP College Admissions, an admission score model for assessing student applicants.
Cayetano filed Senate Resolution No. 157 urging UP to resume the administration of UPCAT for the Academic Year 2023-2024.
He said, “the core of this resolution is to prevent killing students’ dreams.”
UPCAT is still suspended upon the university’s decision due to continuing health risks and operational hurdles of in-person exams posed by the pandemic. — Christian Paul Dela Cruz, INQUIRER.net trainee
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