An official of the province’s first university on Thursday expressed concern over the proposed establishment of the P90-million Tagbilaran City College (TCC), citing the possibility of private schools taking a heavy hit in terms of market share.
“We have to be honest, it’s really a threat namo kay we have the same market so unsa nalang mahabilin kintahay sa private schools,” said University of Bohol (UB) president Atty. Nuevas Montes amid continued deliberations on the TCC project by the Tagbilaran City government.
According to Montes, the granting of free tuition in state universities and colleges, including the Bohol Island State University (BISU) in Bohol, is already poised to erode the market share of private schools in the province.
The “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” was signed into law in August, 2017 and will take effect this year.
Montes said that if the TCC is established, it should focus on technical-vocational courses which are not being offered by existing private schools. But she noted that it would still possibly lead to the same outcome as the TCC would likely add traditional courses in the future.
“OK lang unta kung TESDA ilang i-offer kay wala gyud na namo, dili na strength namo pero lahi ang story if they will offer the traditional courses that are offered by existing colleges and universities,” Montes said.
“Pero mao man gyud nay paingnan, maybe they will start with TESDA and later on naay additional courses because it’s a college,” she added.
For his part, Fr. Ted Gapuz, vice president for administration of the Holy Name University, said that the city government should instead earmark the TCC’s multi-million budget for scholarship vouchers which will be extended to deserving students.
Montes supported the proposal. “Instead of using the 90 million nga mag-gama pa og structure, naa pay operational expense, ngano dili nalang ni gamiton ning voucher system nga murag scholarship…so sila ny mo pili kung asa sila na eskwelahan kaysa mag-gama pa sila’g eswkelahan,” she said.
Although Montes said that she would respect the government’s decision, she also aired her sentiments over the private school sector’s contribution in boosting economic activity in the city in the past decades, noting that private schools maintained “economic vibrancy” in the province before the local tourism industry gained steam.
“Before aning tourism, eskwelahan man gyud ang nakapabuhi. Karon, among sentimento is they should help us kay for so long a time murag ang skwelahan gyuy gahatag og economic vibrancy. So it’s about time na maningil mi, na tabangan unta pud mi,” she said.
Last year, the TCC was listed by the city government as among its priority projects for 2018 but the SP decided to revisit the ordinance which allows the establishment of the multi-million school.
Councilor Jonas Cacho during a special session of the SP to tackle the TCC on Thursday said that city lawmakers still have to review and address several aspects of the project before it is green-lighted.
Cacho said that the private school sector’s stand should be taken into consideration by the city government.
He also noted that he is wary of the project’s “sustainability” due to the uncertainty of the following city administrations’ support for the TCC and the education sector itself. ( Allen Doydora)