Sanchez: Higher education

WHO can disagree with this?

Higher education, says the World Bank, can be a powerful engine for building a stronger society, ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It can serve the community by contributing knowledge and advanced skills as well as basic competencies and research through its so-called “third mission.”

The World Bank added public and private universities, colleges, technical training institutes, and vocational schools. Higher education is instrumental in fostering growth, reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

A highly-skilled workforce, with a solid post-secondary education, is a prerequisite for innovation and growth: well-educated people are more employable, earn higher wages, and cope with economic shocks better.

So now we get the good news. Except that the news all over the mainstream and social media is the ugly confrontation between Sass Rogando Sasot, a blogger and staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, and BBC Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head at the International Media Center in the World Trade Center.

The bigger news should have the implementation of the free tuition law in the second semester in School Year 2017-2018. I congratulate SunStar Bacolod for reporting this as major news.

According to Cesar Medina, regional director of Commission on Higher Education in the Western Visayas, the Negrense beneficiaries are those students studying at the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College in Talisay City, Northern Negros Institute of Science and Technology (Nonescost) in Sagay City, Central Philippines State University in Kabankalan City, and their extension campuses.

An extension campus of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in Cadiz City also started to implement free tuition this semester.

The law’s main author, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, in a report, said that the 113 SUCs will implement the free college tuition law starting this second semester, earlier than the initial implementation planned next year.

Medina said that students who have paid during the enrollment period prior to the implementation of the law will be refunded.

“The initial plan is to cover the miscellaneous fees, even allowances may also be given. But we have yet to wait for the final Implementing Rules and Regulations thus, only free tuition is being implemented for now,” he added.

Wow, this November, Filipinos will celebrate this early Christmas gifts to the young generation, especially the poor Filipinos.

I cannot image Japan, Hongkong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan without their public investments on tertiary education. I’m happy to note that finally the State is putting up its money where its mouth is on poverty eradication and sustainable development.

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)