UCC offers free, quality college education in Caloocan
University of Caloocan City (UCC) has been offering free tertiary education even before President Duterte signed a law mandating free tuition fees in state universities, colleges and local universities.
In UCC, free tuition started in school year 2014 after Ordinance No. 0553 sponsored by then Councilor and now 1st District Rep. Along Malapitan was approved by the council.
The university is proud of the quality education it offers. Two of its graduates had been in the Top Ten board passers of accountancy exams in 2018 and 2019. Meanwhile, another graduate had topped the National Police Commission examination.
Dr. Rodrigo Dantay, administrator of the UCC Camarin campus, said, the university continues to improve not just its curriculum but also the facilities in line with the vision –”A better UCC for a better Caloocan City.”
UCC has three campuses; the other two are the UCC main in Barangay Grace Park East, Biglang-Awa; and the UCC Congressional in Novaliches. Each campus is headed by an admininstrator.
Ms. Marlyn De Jesus, vice president for administration, said that under the leadership of Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan, it is the local government’s goal to nurture its residents, most especially the youth.
“Every meeting, Mayor Malapitan always tells us that we are bound to nurture our youth by giving them a good education,” De Jesus told the Manila Bulletin, “Because when they graduate, they will help their siblings and their family.”
“And if each of their siblings have already an education, their family will progress. And if their families progress, the whole city also does. And eventually, the whole country,” added De Jesus.
In less than a decade, UCC had many improvements. These include the two new buildings and more facilities at the Camarin campus; the relocation of the main campus from Sangandaan to a bigger area in Barangay Grace Park East Biglang-Awa; and the opening of the College of Law, the first in the CAMANAVA area.
“In 2014, we also added another campus, the Congress campus in North Caloocan. We are also in the process of building another campus in Bagong Silang, which will house the engineering courses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Caloocan City is also waiting for another significant development in the education sector. Recently, the House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill 5739, which establishes a branch of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Caloocan City.
“The bill aims not only to address the increasing number of out-of-school youth in the region but also operates to fulfill a high constitutional demand,” said Rep. Malapitan, principal author of the bill and the chairman of the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation.
UCC offers at least 40 courses and has a registered student population of more than 20,000. Six thousand students graduate every year.
Two graduates who had brought much pride to UCC are Patrick Jefferson Dela Cruz, 23, and Ronald Allan Macasero, 20, who topped the accounting board exams in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
“Others might think that the education in UCC is not good quality because it’s free. That’ what I also thought. But when I started studying here, my views changed,” Macasero, No. 5 in the 2019 accountancy board exam, said.
“It might be free but it is high quality and high standard, primarily because of the way the professors teach,” added Macasero.
Dela Cruz, No. 9 in the 2018 accountancy board exam and the first accountancy top notcher of UCC, said: “Malaking tulong ng UCC dahil galing po kami sa wala, parang naranasan na po namin ‘yung hirap, pero kung bago naabot namin yung achievement (UCC helped us a lot. We might have come from nothing but it helped us get into this level of achievement).”
Every year, about 30,000 applicants fall in line as early as midnight to secure a slot in the entrance exams.
Only around 20,000 of them pass because of the high passing rate.
But UCC’s thorough process of screening its students does not just stop there. After every semester, the university conducts departmental exams to assess if a student is qualified to make it to another year with his or her selected course.
“If they do not pass, then they ought to select other related courses,” Dantay said.
Accountancy is one of the hardest courses in the university, De Jesus said. On average, only some 30 students reach fourth year.
“One of the advantages that I see in studying accountancy here is that we only have a small population upon reaching fourth year. So, professors can have more focus in teaching us and we, students, learn easily,” Macasero, who now works at an auditing firm in Taguig City, said.
Mayor Malapitan is the chairman of the board of regents. His leadership is guided by the aim to build more facilities “to accommodate more Caloocan youth,” De Jesus said.
“We also want to offer higher courses, including technical and medical
courses like nursing,” she added.
Giving back to the university
Dantay, who also serves as a guidance counselor of the Camarin campus, said they want to have “an organic” education system, where graduates return to their alma mater to impart what they have learned on the field.
It is what UCC’s alumni are currently doing. Dantay said many of its professors are UCC graduates who have come back to share their knowledge to the Caloocan youth.
The university also instills in the minds of its students the value of giving back.
“We’ve realized that when we were still students, our professors, who were UCC graduates, were the ones helping us,” Dela Cruz said.
“Now that we’re able to get experience from the field, we also want to return to the university to give back and serve as an inspiration to our juniors,” Macasero added.
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