Lawmaker urges SUCs to mainstream agri courses

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 November) — State universities and colleges must mainstream agricultural courses again, the chair of the House committee on higher education said Tuesday.

Rep. Roman Romulo issued the call amid the recent passage of a law that provides for free college education to top public high school students.

Addressing Tuesday’s National Organic Agriculture Congress at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City where he was a keynote speaker, Romulo said there used to be a time when becoming a farmer was something to be proud of.

“Now, you don’t hear students say, ‘when I grow up, I want to become a farmer,” he said.

He noted that even the agricultural students in SUCs migrated to other programs like hotel and restaurant management.

“I appeal to the public to see the value of agriculture,” he said, adding that it was timely for students to take up agricultural courses in time for the 2015 Asean integration.

Romulo said both houses of Congress have passed the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, and it was only waiting for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s signature.

The measure gives the top 10 students of every public high school automatic admission into SUCs.

The congressman from Pasig City said there are currently 112 SUCs and around 8,000 public high schools in the Philippines.

He said out of 1.4 million graduates of high school each year, barely half of them availed of college education for financial problems or lack of scholarships in SUCs.

Romulo also said Senator Juan Edgardo Angara has filed a bill providing for the consolidation of the country’s scholarship programs.

Angara’s bill is titled “The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education Act.

Romulo said he has filed a counterpart bill in the House. (MindaNews)