By Faith Esther Brown and Meryll Phae Red Carao / Infographics: Renee Cuisia

(Published in TNP Editorial Issue 1, Year 38 on Aug. 6, 2016)

A decline in freshman admission in the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication (CMC) followed this year’s implementation of the K to 12 program, which compels students to attend additional two years of senior high school.

This semester, CMC welcomed only 24 freshmen, about five times lower than the usual over a hundred CMC freshmen from the past couple of years.

Data from the CMC administration showed that in 2014 and 2015, CMC took in 135 and 133 UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) passers respectively.

However, CMC College Secretary Teresa Congjuico said the drop was unalarming, despite University of Sto. Tomas’s suspension of admission of freshmen for its journalism and legal management programs due to the low turnout of qualified applicants brought about by the K to 12 program.

“In other colleges, they have a problem in intake admissions. In our college, however, [the low number of freshmen] did not affect the population of the college because we always have a lot of shifting and transfer applicants to our college,” Congjuico said.

There is a total of 128 freshmen, shiftees and transferees (FSTs) this semester, 81 percent of which are shiftees and transferees to CMC.

This number, however, is fairly lower than the number of FSTs in the past years. In the first semesters of 2014 and 2015, there were 309 and 189 accepted FSTs respectively.

Although the K to 12 program did not necessarily deprive CMC of incoming students, CMC Student Council Vice Chairperson and FST Committee Head Jesse Doctor still acknowledges the program’s implications on the educational scheme of the Philippines.

The drop in freshman admission is not the only consequence of the K to 12 program, Doctor believes, for the large number of freshmen will not solve the existing dilemmas during the enrollment process.

Doctor also noted the K to 12 program’s role in the neoliberal educational system’s bigger framework.

“These aim to make a profit out of us students which in turn is supported by other policies such as the Socialized Tuition System (STS), other school fees, and the No Late Payment Policy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Congjuico mentioned another possible implication of the low number of FSTs–the subsequent drop in the number of offered classes in the university, which will force some professors to take a leave since they will have “no one to teach.”

However, Congjuico said it is unlikely to happen in CMC, citing the current rate of student intake.

“Perhaps, other colleges with GE courses will be affected but not our college because we offer disciplinal and highly specialized courses,” she added.

The effect of K to 12 on the university, though not explicitly exhibited, is still an underlying issue, Doctor said. One of the college student council’s visions is to junk said program, which the council sees is creating “cheap and docile labor” for foreign countries.

“[It] defeats the purpose of UP being a national university that aims to serve the people whose taxes paid for our education,” he stated. #


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