Students want retention of BSU extension schools

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Friday, May 30, 2014


STUDENTS from all the Bukidnon State University’s extension campuses all over Northern Mindanao are dismayed over the plan of the Commission on Higher Education in Northern Mindanao (Ched-10) to close the school’s External Studies program that is expected to take effect this coming school year 2014-2015.

Ched-10 regional director Zenaida Gersana said in an interview last May 29 that the commission is bent to pursue this plan.

“We will really close these [BSU] extension campuses as soon as possible,” she said Thursday.

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Gersana said the reason for the imminent closure of the extension schools is based on the separation of the Department of Education (DepEd) and CHEd.

“It is for the reason that the DepEd has been separated from CHEd. Second, people manning the extension campuses are from DepEd and not from CHEd. The administrator of the secondary school where the extension campus is situated is the also the administrator of the BSU extension campus. That shouldn’t be,” Gersana said.

Also, BSU extension campuses are sharing facilities with the school they are occupying like the classroom, chairs, black boards, among others, and she said “these belong to DepEd.”

In 1994, CHEd separated from the Department of Education Culture and Sports (Decs) which was once composed of three branches: Ched, DepEd and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

“BSU spread its education teaching to the extension campuses back then by occupying in their prospective secondary schools. However, Ched is in-charge of tertiary education in the country. DepEd is for the primary and secondary education. CHEd is not affiliated with DepEd anymore,” Gersana added.

Fear of diaspora

In a Committee on Education hearing held May 23, 2014, attended by various superintendents, division supervisors, principals and local officials, BSU students expressed their sentiments asserting their right as the main stakeholders who will be directly affected of the school’s extension campuses’ closure.

Joan Zaballa, a 24-year-old student of the BSU extension in Libertad, Misamis Oriental, said that closing their school would be a great loss to the other 200 students.

Zaballa is taking up Elementary Education as she desires to be a principal in the future. She is graduating next year.

“I am a graduating student and if the recommendation becomes effective this school year, where will I go? Of course, I am not the sole graduating student of BSU-Libertad. There are also others, others who have dreams,” she said.

Aside from BSU-Libertad, a Tesda school is based there. However, Zaballa said that cutting off the extension campus would only mean losing the education of some 200 students.

In their statements, officers from the Supreme Student Council (SSC) of the various BSU extension campuses wanted Ched-10 to retract its planned move.

The students are also supported by the municipal mayors and local officials who also shared the same sentiments with them.
Medina Vice Mayor Kimboy Odchigue, who also went to a BSU extension campus before, said it will not be easy if they will close the school branch there since it is evident that there are many students who benefitted from it.

“The count of the out-of-school youth will also increase if they are to close the school. That is what I fear of,” Odchigue said.

Further action

Misamis Oriental Vice Governor and education committee chair Joey Pelaez assured the 6,000 students of all the BSU extension campuses that “they will not be closed.

DepEd bars the usage of chairs and classrooms that the extension campuses are occupying. This meeting is for us to come up with a stand. And since there is no allocation or alternative schools for these students, no, we will not allow them to close.”

Gersana is set to meet Victor Baroso, the president of BSU, and DepEd-10 regional director Ingrid Racoma on the first week of June.

“CHEd-10 is the frontliner and implementor here. It is the central office that has the say here,” Gersana said.

“But I am to suggest that in line with the closing of the extension campuses, if it is to be pursued, they should stop accepting enrollees for first year and the higher years. Let the higher years finish schooling,” she furthered.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 31, 2014.

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