Why University of the Philippines Should NOT Have Any Budget AT ALL

Posted: 01/12/2010 in Peyups, Uncategorized, yeah!

UP Diliman ca. 2006

I’ve been campaigning about the issue of UP’s budget cut. I boldly declared that UP, in the first place, does not need a budget. And I stated these opinions:

That if UP indeed is the best school in the country, it should:
1. have enough talent and skill to create and sustain its own wealth

2. streamline its operations such that it functions efficiently, no unnecessary offices that don’t do anything. no redundant employees. no departments/offices that have no value.

3. create enough value to its society such that to the society it’s living in, it’s cost effective to subsidize UP’s education. Otherwise, it’s an ivory tower made from the tusks of a white elephant. From this perspective, might as well just abolish it or privatize it.

Half of the budget for tertiary education already goes to UP. The other half is being shared by all the rest of the state universities in the country. UP is a big BRAT acting like a selfish big brother.

If UP, with all its assets, cannot generate its own revenue to sustain its bloated operations, it should either be privatized or abolished.
it’s not doing its job of creating leaders of a self sufficient nation.

I discussed these with my dad today and he enlightened me with somefacts. Apparently most of my opinions were what was supposed to be the setup. It was the original institutional model of UP when it was founded in 1908.

UP is a land grant university. It means, it was given the land so it had assets from which it will earn money from. It’s the only university that was founded in this setup in the country. It means, it is an independent institution not controlled by the government. To this day, it acts like an independent institution except for its finance. It’s still dependent on the government.

To put it much simpler, binigay na yung mana sa iyo, humihingi ka pa ng baon araw araw.

This is not about commercializing education. I don’t think anyone can commercialize GOOD education. It’s about sustainability, self-sufficiency and sound financial management. It’s about the cost of freedom and independence. Freedom is not all about nobody controlling you. It’s also about nobody supporting you. Independence means you’re not dependent on anyone. We’re fooling ourselves if we declare UP to be an independent institution (just so they have the right not to follow the rules) yet is still being funded by the government. UP is the kid who lives on his own in a condo but goes to his mommy for the laundry.

Gov’t funding should be reserved for public services, infrastructure, the military. not sponsoring a bunch of brats who refuse to follow the rules and don’t create value for the society.

Not having a budget from the government is part of the premise of UP being an independent institution (NOT PRIVATE). Just as UP enjoys the freedom of not being under CHED. part of that deal, originally, was it would not be under DBM too.

Thailand’s Chulalongkorn has the same business model. It was founded a decade later (1917). It never received any budget from the government. Instead, Chulalongkorn now is a profit center for the government. It is actually the one giving the Government money from all its operations!

Today, Chulalongkorn is one of the best universities in the region.

This is just the ‘pimple on the huge bubble,’ according to my dad. If you look at the bigger picture, there’s a tertiary education bubble that is about to burst (or already has).

In the grand development plan of the Philippines, it was identified that the country is supposed to have just 6 State Universities and Colleges. But every congressman wanted their own on their region. Factor in corruption, connections, short-sightedness and lack of policy, and voila: We now have 111 state universities and colleges whose operations are being subsidized by the government.

Today, we have 111 State Universities and Colleges, and 45% of the budget for tertiary education goes to UP. Despite all its land assets all over the country that it can earn from, and the capabilities of UP to create wealth.
Aside: UP actually owns 2/3 of Basilan and it did nothing to control and maintain it. It’s where Abu Sayaff were founded.

And to back my point regarding UP’s operations. I was informed that UP’s cost per student were much bigger than Ateneo’s. This brings up a big question on UP’s efficiency. I experienced working in the UP bureaucracy and after a year i still did not understand how things worked within its administrative web of slow, old people who barely know how to use the computer, excess messengers, entire offices that do not serve a purpose, redundant employees, redundant bosses, drivers who don’t have cars.. the list goes on. Because UP is just being fed money yearly, it doesn’t even police how each of its departments spends this money (whether it creates value or not). Although, it has an intricate approval process for each step that you need to take. A step that would otherwise take a day could take weeks, bringing up the cost of that simple step.

Funny, we have the best Operations Research (BS IE) course in the country. We also have the best MS Finance, BS Econ, BS Business Econ courses in the country. And we can’t solve the problem in our own backyard. How hard is it to direct students to research on the profitability of the university’s idle assets? and implement it? you got zero cost consultants already? well, im not surprised, i come from an electronics engineering school where nothing is automated in the building despite all the researches on automation.

If i’m not mistaken, the purpose of a university in a society is to produce specialists and leaders (generalists) that know how to solve the society’s problems. Have we degraded into a factory churning out over-qualified call center (and glorified call center) agents? (‘I’m from UP and i work for dollars.’ Piece of advice, Dollar’s goin down bro, unless US goes to war, yeah that’s why the aircraft carrier is in Korea)

If the university can’t even solve its own problems, given all the talent that thrives in it, isn’t that a little bit of an oxymoron? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the University’s existence? How would it solve then the problems beyond its walls?

Given all these facts, it saddens me that UP is still the best university in this country (despite its deteriorating faculty). The country’s future still depends on the hands of its graduates. If this does not change, that dreadful prediction of the Philippines becoming like Somalia by 2050 is not too far fetched.


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