How to Choose a University

Manila Bulletin, February 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

How to Choose a University


Byline: Bernardo M Villegas

THOSE graduating from high school in March-April 2004 are now actively looking for the right colleges or universities that can best prepare them for fulfilling and remunerative careers.

As an educator, I would like to help in this important choice of a higher educational institution by providing some criteria on what is a "good" university or college. It is advisable for the students and their parents to examine the track records of Philippine universities in turning out products who have the characteristics that will be outlined below.

First, let us listen to Brother Rolando Dizon, chair of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). In a presentation to educators, as he stated the mission of a Philippine institute of higher learning, he said that a university graduate must be:

a. Competent

b. Globally competitive

c. Committed to the common good

d. Morally principled and upright

Competence includes both general skills (e.g. clear thinking, effective communication) as well as a professional specialization for the first job. Global competitiveness is a requirement in todays environment in which Filipino workers, especially in knowledge-based industries, are being pitted against those of other countries, both developed or developing because of the process of "globalization." A spirit of solidarity is needed for the graduate to contribute to national development. Integrity of character is a requirement for harmonious living in society as well as holistic human development.

It is recognized by the leading educators of the world that these qualities most crucial to long-term human and professional development are best developed in a university curriculum steeped in the socalled "liberal arts" or the humanities. Such a curriculum ordinarily has a large dose of theology and philosophy, the arts, literature and languages, history, science and mathematics which are not specifically geared towards a professional specialization. In an article entitled "Why Developing Countries Should Not Neglect Liberal Education," prominent Harvard Professors David Bloom and Henry Rosovsky came out with the characteristics of a liberally educated person, as follows:

* Can think and write clearly, effectively, and critically, and who can communicate with precision, cogency and force;

* Has a critical appreciation of the ways in which we gain knowledge and understanding of the universe, of society, and of ourselves;

* Has a broad knowledge of other cultures and other times, and is able to make decisions based on reference to the wider world and to the historical force that have shaped it;

* Has some understanding of and experience in thinking systematically about moral and ethical problems; and

* Has achieved depth in some field of knowledge. …

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