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President’s Corner

SURVIVING THE PANDEMIC, THE AC WAY

(Message delivered on AC’s 56th foundation day, January, 2021)

  1. INTRODUCTION

One good result of the  COVID 19 pandemic is having brought out the potential of people to pursue activities that they have never done in their lives before. Furthermore, many have  strengthened their passion for doing things that they used to do before the Pandemic.  At home for example, my grandchildren’s  love for animals went beyond caring for just our Persian cats Halo and Tom;  our dogs Bailey the AmBul, Peachy and her puppies Rossi (named after Valentino Rossi, champion motorcycle rider) and MM (named after Marc Marquez, a Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle road racer),  and our rabbits Ebony and Ivory, to taking care of chickens and ducks.

Out of 12 hatched eggs from one of our hens, only 4 chicks remained. Unfortunately, field rats attacked these chicks and only one survived. This only survivor was a black chick, its  toe nails gone, and her feet were bleeding when we saw it,  as they were bitten by the rats, so we had to put the poor chick in a safer cage hoping it would survive, and survive it did! We named it Vivo, short for survivor, and  for those who know Spanish,  we know that vivo is the first person singular form of the infinitive “vivir” which means to live. Vivo therefore is translated  “I live”. We were thinking Vivo was a male, but as it grew bigger, it  turned out to be a female, a pullet. One striking thing about Vivo is her ability to feed herself from the crumbs around the house, escaping the big roosters and hens that would always chase her away. Sometimes I make comments that Vivo thinks she is a cat as she plays and eats with Tom and Halo or at times she would think of herself as a dog  because she would eat and play with MM and Rossi. At times she would think of herself as a human being because she would fly to the top of the table when she hears someone call us for meals. Vivo is not afraid of people. She would noisily follow any of us around whenever she wants to eat. In fact, I would also say that she thinks my daughter-in-law, Joan is her mom because she follows her most of the time. I  really admire Vivo’s survival skills. Now, she is growing into a beautiful hen and I hope she would be able to take care of her chicks well in due time.

  1. SURVIVAL

IF a small chick like Vivo could survive in a dangerous chicken world, how much more could a human being like you and me – endowed with wisdom to discern right from wrong, see the difference between safety and danger, and make the right choices – survive this pandemic world?

All of us have stories to tell about how we have come this far after ten months of the Pandemic.

Each of us has a story to tell about how we coped with the anxiety and stress that the pandemic had caused.

We share the same feelings at the onset of the Pandemic – fear and anxiety about what would happen; so many “what if’s”- what if there would be shortage  of food?,  what if one of us in the family would be infected by the virus?, what if AC would stop its operation?

But thanks be to God! We have survived and we are still surviving! Thanks to the many options we can choose from to spend our time not only to fight boredom and anxiety, but also to be productive and remain calm and be at peace within ourselves.

One of the most important factors that I find necesssary to be  strengthened in order to be able to continue navigating the new normal is our RELATIONSHIPS.

The Pandemic continues to  dramatically affect  our lives, including our relationships with other people in our homes and our workplaces.

Despite finding ourselves in  worrying, frightening or even unbearable situations, it is very important to maintain good relationships.

How do we nurture  relationships in our homes and families?

  1. Give time – put more time aside to connect with your friends and family. Distance is not a hindrance because of the presence of many ways to connect with people we love, no matter where they are.
  2. Pay attention to the other people in your life and try not to be distracted by your phone or your work (especially now that many are already in work-from-home set ups),  or your  other interests.
  3. Listen – really listen to what others are saying and try to understand and to focus on their needs, especially the immediate ones.
  4. Let yourself be listened to – honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others.
  5. Recognize unhealthy relationships and do something to improve them.  Remember that these are strange and difficult times, and it’s  important to protect our relationships.  
  6. Stay connected – Use your gadgets  to stay in touch. Don’t you agree that hearing a friendly, familiar voice, or reading a message from people we care about, help us feel more connected?  On the other hand, there may be people living away from us, who may be feeling lonely, isolated and afraid, who need to hear us, too. Staying connected helps improve our mental health.
  7. Sharing feelings, can help us feel calmer and closer to each other. Remember that everyone is affected by the coronavirus situation and may be feeling more anxious and perhaps irritable than usual.

In the workplace, we also need to maintain a healthy  employee- employer relationship. You may not have given it much thought, but what we are doing at Aldersgate College are all geared towards establishing a strong employee- employer relationship. This may be in simple things like a monthly cellphone load of 200 pesos, releasing our salaries on time, loans to purchase gadgets, or even occasions like today, to recognize the valuable contributions we made for Aldersgate College.  

We try our best to support, train and prepare our team to be flexible and to act accordingly and swiftly in different situations; to share information, encourage cooperation, to lend a helping hand. I hope those who plan to leave soon will remember Aldersgate College for these simple  but heartfelt gestures of the administration.

To survive the pandemic, let us not forget to take care of ourselves. Self- care involves both physical and mental well-being. Physical health entails proper food and nutrition and exercise.

For our mental health, let us make time for things we enjoy.

We do not know when this pandemic will end, but we are not hopeless. Covid-19 is not here to stay. But God’s protection remains. The pandemic should not hinder us from planning for the future – how we can continue to thrive and survive in the new normal.

  1. CONCLUSION

Yes we will survive. If Vivo, the chicken could, we also can!

If there is one person who would know about survival like the back of her hand, that’s me. But Experience has taught me that no problem is permanent.

Widowed at the age of 38 with 4 young children, the youngest  of whom was 10 months old, it seemed the end of the tunnel was a far stretch ahead. The question of how to fend for them occured to me, but God’s promise to care for the orphans and widows was fulfilled in me. These 4 treasures are God’s way of strengthening me. No one can shatter the bond I have with my kids. I would do anything in the world for them. I would fight for them as much as they would fight for me. Together we have survived those difficult years and together we experienced and are still enjoying God’s protection and provision.

Being a grandmother for the first time at the age of 41, I held a 984 gram- 28 – week old pre-term baby boy in my arms. As I prayed for the survival of that baby, I looked forward to the time when he would be a grown-up young man, which my Arkhie is today.

I could go on and on telling you about how I survived problems and trials but as I said earlier, these are not permanent.

I do not say that I don’t have my share of trials anymore. I still do, like any normal human being. But one thing is sure, God has seen me through and I am certain He will still do. I believe, these too shall pass.

Thinking positively may be difficult at this time when all of us anxiously wish to remain negative of the virus, But it is now more than ever that positive thinking could be used as a powerful weapon for survival. Coupled with a strong faith in the Almighty Father, positive thinking will bring us to the light at the end of the tunnel.

This possitivity is best expressed in the poweful words of Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, in her poem titled “The Hill We Climb”, during  President-elect Joe Biden’s installation to office. (And I would like to quote excerpts from it)

“When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade…

So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert, How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?…

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us….

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,…

When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Yes, this Pandemic, too will pass, and let us look forward to that time when we see the light at the end of the long tunnel, and  together we declare, “We survived! “

High School Virtual Graduation, 2020

To the members of  the Aldersgate College Corporation and Board  of Trustees headed by the Chairman Dr. Willie A. Damasco;  Members of the Administration, Faculty  and Staff; Members of the Graduating classes; Parents and Guardians, a blessed day to all.

What we are about to do today is the very first of its kind for me, for you and for Aldersgate College: a virtual graduation ceremony.  Looking back to the last graduation rites at the Highlander Hotel last June, 2019, who would think back then, that we would be doing something different today? No stage preparation, no graduation march, no handshaking and hugging after diplomas are awarded … so different, so not normal, but at this point in time, we are forced to accept things as the “new normal”.

Be that as it may, life has to go on, and we have to make the most of what we have. One of the things we have to be grateful for is the presence of many platforms brought about by technology, by which we can connect and still be able to continue doing familiar things differently. I know that many of you dear students, for the past three monhs, have grown accustomed to communicating with your friends and other people through facebook, twitter, and other social media connections. We have become dependent on online sellers for food and other items. Many of our friends and relatives, or we ourselves, have become instant businessmen by selling all kinds of stuff online. But then again, this  does not free you from your responsibilities as students. You were still required to submit papers,  and other requirements  to complete your grades in school. The abrupt disruption of our classes when the lockdown was imposed caught us all unaware.  But I am so grateful that Aldersgate College is equipped with multi-skilled personnel who are more than ready to meet this new challenge. Within days, we were able to come  up with possible solutions to the problems that confronted us as a result of the lockdown. Despite the possibility of using the internet to interact with our students, we had to consider the plight of those who live in remote areas with no access to the world wide web.  Those who do not have internet access therefore  are given the option to accomplish modules to be submitted  via drop off points.

We may differ in the way we face this new situation, but definitely, we have to understand that the lockdown is not an extended vacation. You may have gotten used to getting up late, to being glued to your gadgets playing online games, but you must never forget  that Education is still part of your life in preparation for a bright future for yourself.

At this point in time, have you pondered on what happens after you finish your Junior or your Senior Education? Have you decided to go on learning despite the situation we are in? After all, education is not merely feeding the mind. It is also feeding the heart. What did this pandemic teach you? Has it made you more aware of the importance of your family? Have you learned to appreciate things which you have taken for granted before? Have you given time to tend a garden, care for pets, do a hobby and most importantly, to connect with God? It is now more than ever, that we have to strengthen our faith in the Lord, regardless of our religious affiliation. Are you one of the millions who are praying seriously that this pandemic will soon end? That a cure will be discovered, and that we can go back to our normal lives? And when I say normal life, I mean a life with no fear of an unknown virus that may infect us anytime, a life lived in harmony with our fellowmen, and in harmony with God’s creation.

The Theme of the Department of Education for this School Year,  “Sulong EduKalidad: Pagtataguyod sa Kinabukasan ng Bayan’ or Championing the Nation’s Future, speaks about how we can assure  a bright future, not only for us, but most importantly, for our children. The theme emphasizes the essential role of quality education in helping Filipino learners achieve their full potential in order to fulfill their dreams and contribute meaningfully to nation-building.  This is easier said than done, especially at this time, when we do not know when this pandemic will end.

We, in the academe are not only beset by problems of the content of learning but also by how we can best deliver it. Do you think it is easier for teachers to do their job now? Definitely not. We have to realign our curriculum with the needs of the times. Our teachers have to undergo webinars to equip them with new strategies and new content. This can mean total revision of what we were used to doing before.

You, our dear parents, have been our partners in educating our children since the beginning, but we need your partnership with us now more than ever. Thank you for being there, supporting your children. Together, we can do this. Together we can survive this pandemic.

At this juncture,  let me congratulate our Grade 10 Completers and our Grade 12 Graduates for having come this far in their educational journey. Do not think that it is bad luck that brought us to this situation. Take this as a new kind of challenge that needs to be met by a new strategy.  Let your creativity get to work and face this challenge head-on, after all, it is not the end of the world. So much is still in store for you. The world is waiting for a new generation of workers to gravitate it, a new generation of players that will make a positive impact on society and the environment.

According  to the 2016 McCann Worldgroup’s global study on “Truth AboutYouth”, Filipino millennials and centennials are characterized as socially conscious and aspiring to have a greater purpose. I believe that you are like the 96 % of  Filipino millennials who are inclined to make a positive contribution to the community and the  26 % percent who want to be remembered as someone who made a difference. That’s accoding to the study.

In conclusion, accept my warmest congratulations for successfully hurdling the obstacles that may have otherwise hindered you from getting to where you are now. May the Father Almighty continue to guide us all today and in the days ahead!

Alumni Homecoming 2019

Savouring a brighter future through our glorious past.

They say that “Home is where the heart is”.

Your coming back to our Alma Mater today means your hearts are still with Aldersgate College. For that, I am thankful. So, Welcome home! Welcome to your Alma Mater!

To those of you who have been away for some time, I am happy to inform you that during the time that you were away, your Alma Mater is in the good hands of our untiring and hardworking administrators, faculty and staff. We made sure that the quality of our instruction and our services continue to improve.

We try our best to prepare our graduates to excel in their respective professions and that our PRC passing rate will continue to level up.

I wish to inform everyone that we had a re-clustering of our courses, resulting to a new nomenclature of some of our colleges, specifically, the CET is  now the College  of Enguneering, Informatics and Technology (CEIT) under the deanship of Engr. Godofredo M. Batarao; the SBA (which used to be the  CBE, then CBIT) is now the School of Business, Management and Accountancy (SBMA) under Dr. Romeo M. Bicad as the dean. We still have the College of Arts, Sciences and Education (CASE) with Debora B. Sampaga as Dean; the School of Criminology (SC) under the leadership of Dean Jose B . Omingle; the School of Medical Sciences (SMS)  under Marivic D. Dela Torre as Dean; the Graduate School of Education (GSE) with Deb Sampaga as Dean and the Graduate School of Management (GSM) which is also under Dr. Romulo Bicad.  Of course our Elementary School and the AC High School  under Mrs. Cely Luna and Marissa Taguinod as the respective Principals. 

I wish to underscore that the High School was recently awarded a 5-year Level 2 Accreditation and we are gearing up for Level 3. Early this month, our Level 2 accredited programs, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Business were visited for resurvey and we are praying to be awarded Level 3 accredited status. A preliminary survey of the Elementary School, the Tourism and Hospitality and Criminology programs was also undertaken.

This school year, we are are blessed with an increase in enrolment in all levels. This can be partly attributed to the Voucher and ESC funds for the high school and the TES program from the government.  

As a result of this, we have constructed 4 classrooms for the high school in the EZE building and 4 classrooms for the College in the CSS building. With God’s grace, we aim to finish the second floor of the CSS building which means additional 10 classrooms. I know we have limited funds for this, but with your prayers and financial contribution, no matter how small, we can finish this project in the ensuing school year.

As you can see, we have started painting the EZE building and we also wish to do the same with the ICDC building.

Our classrooms are mostly provided with LED screens to facilitate instruction. You may have also noticed that we have installed turnstiles at the entrance and only students with valid IDs can enter, while simultaneously, a text message is sent to the parents of their child’s entry and exit. For the faculty and staff, we use biometrics for entrance and exit.

 We have also  expanded our canteen to be able to cater to the growing number of students.

Our pupils and students continue to excel in competitions in the   district, provincial and regional levels.  As you did while you were students here, these experiences are avenues where their skills are honed to prepare them for greater responsibilities like you now have. We are proud that many of you, our dear alumni are now raising the torch high for Aldersgate College wherever you are. I wish to  take this opportunity to thank you all for your presence. Indeed it is a manifestation that you recognise Aldersgate College as a part of your glorious past.  Graduation from the academe doesn’t sever your relationship with it.

Like our parents who nourished us, we leave our Alma Mater, only to come back and give back to her whatever we can give back as a manifestation of our gratitude.

Today we are here, not only to meet old friends and teachers but also to dream together with us for an Aldersgate College that we can all be proud of. Be our partners in looking forward to a better future. We need your commitment. We need your help. We need your prayers.

Christmas: of Dreams, Giving and Thanksgiving

  1. Introduction

Through the years, the celebration of Christmas has taken on different meanings to me. As a child, I looked forward to opening the gifts “Santa Claus” left beside the  shoes and socks that me and my siblings put on the window sill on Christmas eve. It’s funny to say that I learned only about the reality of Santa Claus when I was already in High School. I started suspecting that Santa wasn’t real when I realized that the handwriting on the gift wrappers looked exactly like my  Mom’s. And she laughingly admitted it to me when I asked her about it. But the secret remained between us  and we continued the tradition with my younger siblings and later on, with my own kids.

As I grew older, thinking about Christmas meant looking forward to being with my family because it was only at Christmas time and in summer that I get to go home from Manila for a span of  six years – 4 years for school  and 2 years for work at my Alma Mater,  Harris Memorial College. Back then,  home was what  I dreamt when December came.

As an adult,  Christmas has taken on a new meaning. To me,  Christmas is about “Emmanuel”, God with us. Christmas is about Jesus, the Reason for the season.

For  this year’s  Christmas message, I would like us to focus on our Christmas dreams, on giving and on thanksgiving.

  • Of dreams

December is the culmination of 12 months of hoping, aspiring, toiling and dreaming. It’s when we are at the meeting point of the old year and the new. It’s a time to look back to what has happened in the past year. It’s a time to reckon on whether or not our New Year’s resolutions are fulfilled or if our dreams and aspirations came to fruition.

What are your dreams for December? New clothes, a new gadget perhaps or   something you have saved for, for yourself, a family gathering, a reunion with friends, maybe making someone happy by buying them a gift, or like me, a  dream to spend a “perfect Christmas” with my significant other (yes it will just be a dream this year because the pandemic has restricted my yearly visit to San Diego). But whatever your dreams for December are, I wish you will find its realization.

We have dreams for ourselves, for our children, for our parents, our friends. Or  we may  also have dreams for our country, for our suffering countrymen, for the world, for our leaders, for our church. I’m sure our common dream at this point is for a pandemic-free world.

And like me, I know you also have dreams for Aldersgate College and for our colleagues.

Jesus is the One who fulfills our dreams. 

  • Of giving

Did you realize that upon the birth of a child,  the first act performed is giving? Yes, because we say, “The mother gives birth to her baby.” We are all recipients of that act of giving as soon as we were born.

I learned early on that giving is something we do that makes us think of the other person before ourselves. My Mom used to tell us that when you give, give something that has the same quality of what you wish to receive.

And she would instruct us to give the shinier or newer coin or the crispier bill at the offering plate, because you must give to the Lord what is best. I grew up in a culture of  “Sunday best”, referring to a person’s best clothes, worn to church or on special occasions. Back in the day, we didn’t talk about casual dresses, or semi-formal or formal clothes. During our time, we would say, “Let’s wear our Sunday best during the program.”

Christmas is about God’s love. It is what John 3:16 is all about. God so loved us that He GAVE His only Son. The essence of Christmas is giving.  Giving is the manifestation of love. As they say, we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.

Christmas is the time to remember the great love of our Heavenly Father who gave Himself to us by being born into the world.

The Magi likewise showed us an example of giving through their gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to the newborn Jesus on that first Christmas day.

I recently read a story shared by Hollywood icon Katherine Hepburn about the value of giving.

Let me read her story:

“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.

Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.

There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.

The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement, you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armour.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.

The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price.

The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price.

The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”

The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation.

He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”

My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.

Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide. That day I learnt the value of giving.” (End of story)

The Giver is bigger than the Receiver. It is  because when we give, we give away a part of ourselves. The mother who gives birth gives a part of herself to the child. And because  God gave us Jesus, there is a part of us that is divine, which explains why there is good in us, despite our being natural sinners.

As I have emphasized in our past Christmas programs, the tradition of exchanging gifts should be taken as an experience of sharing what we know is best for the recipient. Our giving must go beyond the limits of the cost of the gift, or giving for the sake of fulfilling a tradition. The idea of the “wish list” is to see what other people want or need so that we can customize our presents accordingly. And I am really touched that there are some of us who listed things, not for themselves, but for somebody else. Isn’t that a manifestation of sacrifice, which is exactly the essence of giving?

  • Of thanksgiving

Christmas is a time of Thanksgiving. It is a time of  acknowledging that we are recipients of blessings everyday of our lives.

God gave us Jesus as the gift and blesses us in many different ways. Therefore, He is  the only One worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.

Part of a sermon I heard many years ago says, “Be thankful for the good, in spite of the bad.”  We should not only be thankful during the good times. We must also learn to see the good in spite of the bad. Again, let me quote from the song, “Look for the beautiful”

          “Look for the beautiful, look for the true

          And God and the bautiful will dwell with you”

What touched me most in the sermon of Pastor Rose during our morning watch service was “God doesn’t change regardless of our circumsances”. I am guilty of sometimes feeling that God’s love for me is diminished when things go wrong. That sermon reminded me that God’s love is constant. He loves me, inspite of who I am, in spite of my circumstances and that I can trust Him on that. For this I am thankful.

This Christmas, let us resolve to maintain an attitude of gratitude, both to God and to others. Making a habit of expressing gratitude and finding things to be thankful for help to rewire our  brain to be proficient at recognizing the good in our lives. Regardless of what’s happening, regardless of Covid 19, regardless of storms that come, we can thank God for His presence. And when we do, we rise above the situation when we purposefully look for what God is doing in the midst of it.

Gratitude should impact not only our relationship with God but also our relationship with other people. Let us make gratitude a part of our interactions with other people. Let us make  it a regular practice to say thank you to people in our life. It is sad to note that,  the people we express gratitude the least in our lives are those the closest to us. We forget to acknowledge the little things our loved ones do because we are so accustomed to them.

Thankfulness is a habit that is learned until it becomes a part of us.

CONCLUSION

This Christmas let us continue to dream and ask God to help us fulfill them. Let us give, not grudgingly but joyfully and let us be thankful

Webinar on Mental Health

For all of us, the COVID-19 outbreak is a revelation of how fragile our  lives can be. Yet this pandemic has also tested our resilience amidst adversity.

Covid -19  has changed the way in which most of us live and how we perform our basic day to day functions. It has disrupted our routines, obstructed travel, secluded us from the rest of the world and to us in the academic community, it has challenged our ability to deliver education to our clientele.

At Aldersgate College, like most schools all over the country, we have switched over to alternative modes of delivery of instruction and implement flexible schedules and work-from-home set-ups for our employees.

We always try to  think of ways to keep our  people safe, contain the spread of the virus and  continue our operations effectively during this crisis.

As a Christian institution, we try to approach this human crisis with empathy as we support our employees, making sure that they get proper access to the necessary technology to navigate the new normal in education. To our dear members of  the AC community, we do not stop thinking of ways to empower you and keep you informed and updated on new developments, strategies and work arrangements.

This webinar on mental health is one of the administration’s attempts at helping our employees cope with the demands of the new normal.

The sudden change in the way we live has left many people helpless, disappointed, discouraged, stressed, afraid and even angry.  For all we know, people in our families, neighborhood and workplace may be part of the 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year, who are struggling with mental health problems.  But many of those affected do not receive proper  treatment, often because of the stigma attached to mental health or our own unawareness of what mental illness is. If left untreated, mental problems can contribute to poor performance at school and work, less  employment opportunities and increased risk of suicide.

Depression. Anxiety. Suicide. Fear. Paranoia. They are real.

I am saddened by the fact that one of our students committed suicide very recently.

And my son was talking about a colleague who had to resign from his job because he found it difficult to cope with the pressure and demands of his job.

I hope this webinar has widened our awareness of the fact that there are  people who need our help in managing the challenges of this thing called the new normal. Let us take time to listen to the cries of the world, the nation, our community, our family. By being sensitive to the needs of others around us, we would be able to extend a helping hand.  

On the other hand, if we think it is us, who need help, let us not hesitate to seek it. There are many of us who are ready to listen and join you in your journey. I am here, ready to listen, ready to help. Your AC family is here.We are here.

One  important lesson that this pandemic has taught me is the fact that “Adversaries are God’s ways of humbling us, teaching us to depend on Him rather than on the things of this world. Even in our brokenness we find hope. Everyday brings its own troubles, but it also brings its mercies. God allows grief, which serves a merciful purpose if we trust God.”

In closing, let me quote fro the character of US President Tom Kirkman, in Designated Survivor (Netflix series):

“We are not defined by our difficulties. We are defined by how we respond to them and my response is to fight.”

Together, we can fight. Together we will succeed.

Perils of Private Education

Welcome Message on the 51st ACSCU National Convention
Wesleyan University-Philippines, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija
May 7-9, 2012

This is to warmly welcome our distinguished University and College Presidents, School Directors and Principals, Deans and Trustees to the 2012 National Convention of the Association of Christian Schools, College and Universities (ACSCU).

We meet amidst ominous conditions and serious threats confronting our survival as educational institutions.

The 436 state and 33 local colleges and universities in the Philippines (including satellite campuses) have managed to whittle down the share of private tertiary schools from 90% in 1990 to 60% today. Although the per capita student costs of state and local colleges and universities are generally higher than private schools, their educational fees are made much lower by government subsidies. We can only limit but not prevent the exodus of our students to government schools, exacerbated as it is by financial difficulties triggered by recurring natural calamities, inflation, un-employment and other crises.

To be competitive, some sectors suggest that we become truly cutting-edge and innovative in our educational program offerings and learning methods. This is correct. However, the government does not allow us to offer these programs without corresponding regulations. And it takes years to formulate them, so that by the time they are issued, the mandated standards and technologies have either become dated or outmoded. While private schools suffer chronic delay before receiving permit to operate new educational programs, state and local colleges and universities by-pass the application process and duplicate the same programs very swiftly.

Offering new educational programs, curricula and courses require substantial investments in facilities, equipment and training. But again, the government has tied our hands with regulations controlling tuition fees and collections. It also wants to limit the educational offerings and clientele of private schools in accordance with specialized school typologies that are not appropriate business models considering the cyclical demand for professions.

The government is also determined to implement the K+12 Program, which is basically a name-game depending on what point-of-view is taken. Why can the government not call it Associate of Arts or Pre-Collegiate Qualification Program, instead, so that the proposed Grades 11 and 12 can be legally offered by tertiary institutions instead of just secondary schools, most of them public schools that do not even receive enough budget for their current enrollees, much like public pre-schools and elementary schools? Why run the risk of bankrupting private tertiary institutions with the loss of freshmen enrollees in the first two years of K+12 Program implementation, when it can be avoided?

Our national laws clearly express academic freedom. But they are contradicted by legislations and executive orders that are clearly unfair, if not detrimental, to all of us. It is imperative for us now to find the best solutions, and in ACSCU, make our united and unequivocal stand to fight for our right to survive and grow, and to continue to extend our brand of Christian Education to the world.

 

Pedagogy for Christian Education in the 21st Century

Global Education Fund for Leadership Development

Yonsei University, South Korea
February 13-16, 2012

To answer the question posed by this topic, we have to briefly examine Phililipine Culture, and thereafter, clarify what is meant by the Religious Education and Pedagogy in the context of the 21st Century:

Philippine Culture

Philippine culture has been influenced by the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity. These teachings, combined with a wide variety of animistic indigenous beliefs, has melded into a syncretic form of Christianity  as currently practiced by a majority of Filipinos today.

The 333 years of colonization under Spain has Christianized the Philippines to a high degree. Continue reading

Educational Cost Saving Strategies

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In tough economic times such as these, schools are squeezed by the rapidly rising costs of salaries, facilities modernization, technological innovation, energy consumption, and bureaucratic excess. The bigger the schools grow, the more propensity they have to lose control over costs.

It is not so difficult to achieve educational cost savings with proper participatory planning and unyielding stakeholder commitment. Some of the more promising cost saving strategies worth considering are as follows:

I. Capacity Maximization. This can be done by increasing section size, or increasing the number of sections that each instructor carries for the same workload credit. The implications of this strategy on different enrollment conditions are as follows:

1. Steady Enrollment

If course enrollment is steady, the number of people teaching the various courses must be reduced.

2. Increasing Enrollment

If course enrollment is increasing the number of people teaching the various courses can be maintained.

3. Decreasing Enrollment

If course enrollment is decreasing, the number of people teaching the various courses must be reduced proportionately more than the percentage decline in enrollment. Continue reading

K+12 POLICY FRAMEWORK: Pessimistic, Optimistic or Realistic?

image courtesy of www.proactiveinvestors.com

COCOPEA North Luzon Consultation
November 27, 2010  at the University of Baguio, Baguio City

I. COMPREHENSIVE POLICY IMPACT ANALYSIS

The formulation of Policy for the K+12 Education System requires rigorous systems analysis. Many patchwork of issues, opinions and statistical analysis have already been presented by so many sectors in so many meetings and consultations.  But what is more important to see now is the entire picture, the whole tapestry of Cause-Effects and Costs-Benefits that the policy, if adopted, will create.

Actually we did this partially today. But it seems we also need the help of Education Economists to prepare a comprehensive policy impact analysis and simulate varying policy options under different policy assumptions and conditions.

II. DIFFERENT CONDITIONS, DIFFERENT ASSUMPTIONS, DIFFERENT POLICIES

Different conditions generate different assumptions, which in turn create different policies. The success of any policy depends on the correctness of its policy assumptions.

Taking this fact into consideration, should we make policy assumptions based on current realities? Or should policy be based on policy conditions we would want to happen, but which may not exist by the time we start implementing the policy? Continue reading

Aldersgate College Performance Evaluation System

Image courtesy of http://www.saha.org

Marlou Felix S. Cunanan III, MBA, MIT

The performance evaluation system operates on the principle that work effectiveness can be assessed through observation of  occurrences in desired human behaviors. It also subscribes to the belief that there is always room for continuous improvement in work performance provided desired human behaviors are learned, assimilated and practiced.  The Performance Evaluation System (http://academics-software.com/software/performance-evaluation-system) is  therefore a  tool for measuring, monitoring and controlling work performance from different perspectives, i.e., students, subordinates, superiors, and peers.

The Performance Evaluation System provides a list of desired human behaviors that have been proven capable of generating  positive  teaching outcomes. It  provides benchmarks for identifying and measuring weaknesses  in  job performance so that proper remedies can be instituted. This includes self-correcting mechanisms at the personal and institutional levels.

The performance reports and ratings  generated by the various  evaluation perspectives will be analyzed and consolidated to be used for  making decisions on the following:

  1. Employee improvement programs
  2. Granting of pay increments
  3. Determining order of layoffs
  4. Rating employee’s suitability for promotion
  5. Examining the employee’s suitability for the job
  6. Justifying administrative decision to transfer, demote, or dismiss an employee

http://performance.aldersgate-college.com