SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/04 Nov) — A State University will soon rise in this City of Island Adventures, giving pride to officials and residents here.
House Bill 5913 or the act creating the Surigao del Norte State University was “adopted and approved for second reading without amendments after a motion for approval by Senator Loren Legarda,” the office of 1st District Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr. said in a statement.
The statement also said Senator Edgardo Angara, committee chair on education, arts and culture assured Romarate and 2ndDistrict Rep. Francisco T. Matugas that he would “immediately refer the adopted bills and support its passage in the plenary before the Senate adjourns for its regular break”.
Romarate and Matugas authored the bill which will integrate the Surigao State College of Technology (SSCT) in Surigao City and the Siargao National Science and Technology in the town of Del Carmen and the Surigao del Norte College of Agriculture and Technology in the town of Mainit.
Officials and students welcomed the news.
“We are happy. It is actually more of a challenge for us,” Dr. Roberto C. Buenaflor, SSCT professor and president of the faculty association said, as he thanked the officials who worked for the conversion.
“This (conversion) is not just a pride for the faculty, the students and the entire province but also by our neighboring provinces because our students from other areas will now have the opportunity to study in an institution that is incomparable outside,” the professor said.
Cherry Beberino, a 3rd year Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Physical Science student said she and her classmates have been dreaming of graduating from a university, claiming this would give them a better edge in finding work once they graduate.
“Mas dali na man gud dawaton sa trabaho kun makita nga sa University ka nag-eskuyla,” (It will be easier to get accepted for work if they know you graduated from a university.
“The challenge for us now is how we will be able to surpass our present performance and maintain the integrity and excellence of a University status,” Buenaflor added.
SSCT has a total of 130 permanent teachers and 100 lecturers. According to Buenaflor, the university status will not affect the salary grade of the teachers. “It is simply a prestige”, he said.
He however stressed that the demand for teacher excellence will be much higher since it has to maintain “a universal quality of education for students” that is comparable to local and international universities.
“We can also offer many courses that is needed in the community (like ours),” he said.
SSCT has a total of 8,000 students.
Romarate said that with the final announcement and approval into law of the conversion bill, the University is expected to be able to accommodate 12,000 to 15,000 students “poor and deserving students.”
“As we have pointed out, the Senate is mindful of the fact that in the Caraga Region, it is only Surigao del Norte which is still has no state university. This development will give more opportunities for our fellow Surigaonons who have less in life,” Romarate said.
Matugas on the other hand said while the quality of the state college graduates in the province is impressive, “under a state university system, Surigao del Norte will be a center of academic excellence.”
A private university run by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres– St. Paul University-Surigao (SPUS) is the first university in the city. It was known as San Nicolas College before it became a university in 2004. (Vanessa L. Almeda/MindaNews)