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Editorial | Inclusive and free education for all

The city will finally have its own College, expected to be operational in the schoolyear 2020-2021 with an estimated 1000 students on its pilot year. It will offer Bachelor of Special Needs Education (BSNEd), Bachelor of Technical-Vocational Teacher Education (BTVTEd), Bachelor of Physical Education (BPEd), Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship (BS Entrep), and Bachelor of Arts in English or Filipino.

Councilor Pilar Braga, committee chair on education, science and technology, arts and culture, said this was 26 years in the making as she first filed the ordinance for a city college in 1994. This free tertiary education will serve the poor, disadvantaged and underserved sectors with temporary site at the Alternative Learning Center at Pelayo St., beside the People’s Park.

This achievement has a back story of patience and perseverance. According to Councilor Braga, her first attempt didn’t “catch fire” as she had no support system such as a technical working group willing to do research. “I never gave it up and I kept my dream alive,” she said, until last year when she met teachers under the Division of City Schools who shared the same passion and were willing to do the spade work. She cited Supt. Ines Asuncion as having worked tirelessly with her to prepare documents. Still, she attributes the passage of the ordinance to the support of Mayor Sara Duterte who earlier on certified it as urgent.

We already have two state colleges in the city, the University of Southeastern Philippines and the University of the Philippines-Mindanao. These educational institutions also cater to students who are disadvantaged, however, having our own city-run educational institution similar to the Pamantasan ng Maynila, is a welcome addition as it opens access to education to more students who otherwise cannot pursue higher education.

Snags are expected along the way but if the city is bent in providing inclusive and free education for all, this will come to fruition.

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