Journ Classroom

April 28, 2008

A Class of Cum Laudes -2

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 9:30 am

I’m sure many of those who received honors from UP deserved it.

Among them are UP Journalism graduates Jessica Hermosa and Johanna Sisante, whose thesis was named the best produced by the Class of 2008 of the College of Mass Communication (CMC). Their thesis was titled “Seat of Power: An Investigative Study on the Legislative Motives of the Authors of the Biofuels Act of 2006.” Their thesis adviser was Prof. Yvonne Chua.

The thesis was published as a two-part investigative report by Vera Files, an online publication that produces in-depth articles on various issues.


A Class of Cum Laudes

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 7:24 am

The emcee at the graduation yesterday of the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Class of 2008 said something that’s a bit disturbing: some 30 percent of the UP Diliman graduates were honor students. This means that one in three is a cum laude, a magna cum laude or a summa cum laude.

Either the Class of 2008, the Centennial batch, is extremely gifted, or UP teachers have become more lenient and their standards have dropped.

Maintaining UP’s high standards is important if it wishes to remain the country’s premier academic institution. But UP graduates aren’t the best anymore. (My son, who worked at the human resources department of a tech company in Makati, talks about UP graduates who are rejected because they couldn’t pass company exams or couldn’t converse comfortably and confidently in English).

How sad. Aside from the fact that standards have fallen, morals too are loosening. Knowing what is right and what is wrong is something a UP graduate should know, but there are indications UP is producing graduates who don’t, going by what was heard during the 2008 Recognition Rites of the National College of Public Administration Governance.

April 26, 2008

A sad day for UP

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 5:13 pm
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It was dusk. The graduation ceremony at the University of the Philippines’ National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) was coming to a close. The commencement speaker had said his piece, each of the graduates had been called to the stage, the Chorale had sung, and the cream of the undergraduate and masteral classes had given their responses.

Now it was time to hear from the graduate who had just finished her Ph.D.

She prefaced her speech by asking everyone to applaud her, since unlike her younger counterparts graduating with Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, she said, no one had given any expression of approval or acknowledgment of her feat, obtaining the highest degree the institution could give: a doctorate in public administration.

The audience indulged her by clapping, but she didn’t seem satisfied. What she said next stunned some in the audience.

“Palakpakan n’yo ako at bibigyan ko kayo ng exemption sa number coding ng MMDA (Applaud me and I will exempt you from MMDA’s number coding scheme)!” blurted Dr Corazon Cruz, Assistant General Manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), one of NCPAG’s newest Doctors of Philosophy in Public Administration. As everyone in the audience knows, the MMDA is the agency of government enforcing traffic rules and regulations in Metro Manila, including the number coding scheme that mandates vehicles to stay off the road one day a week depending on the number their license plates ends in.

It sounded amusing and people did chuckle. But the implications of what Dr Cruz said and did eventually sunk in. Here was a government official who had supposedly spent years of study on public administration, trying to offer the audience the incentive (bribe would be more accurate) of an exemption from MMDA rules in exchange for applause. She was telling people she could break the rules if they did her a favor.

“Palakpakan n’yo ako at bibigyan ko kayo ng exemption sa number coding ng MMDA!” sounds frighteningly similar to “Iboto nyo ako at libre kayong lahat sa Philhealth!” or even “Iboto nyo ako at bibigyan ko kayo ng tax exemption!” The line embodies what people dislike about government.

And what is troubling too is that the people before her were not just any audience. They were graduates of the NCPAG, future public servants and leaders of the Philippine bureaucracy. (more…)

April 18, 2008

VERA Files is up

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 4:33 pm

A group of senior journalists have pooled their experience and expertise to form a group called VERA Files, which publishes in-depth reports, feature stories and news articles on various issues.

VERA Files is barely a month old, and if other journalism groups follow what is known as “non-profit journalism,”  VERA Files business model is “no Income Journalism”   VERA Files’ trustees are in it for love of the profession, recognizing the need for in-depth reporting in these troubling times.

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