Manileños are lucky to have a locally funded university which provides college education to the underprivileged but intellectually gifted youth of the City of Manila.
This was the assessment of the present batch of enrollees this school year after the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) was cited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as "a very good model for the local colleges and universities (LCUs)."
In a speech at the recently concluded first national forum of the Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU), CHED chairperson Dr. Ester Albano Garcia cited the PLM for its unprecedented growth as a higher education institution while achieving a track record as one of the top universities in the country.
PLM president Dr. Benjamin Tayabas, who is also the present ALCU president, said the university provides a tuition-free college education to the top 10 percent of graduating students of Manila high schools without financial assistance from the national government.
"PLM is financially supported only by the local government, yet it is able to give high-standard education to its students," Tayabas said, adding PLM is the only local government university which has a charter governing its establishment and operation.
According to Garcia, the country has more than 1,400 colleges and universities with a population of 2.7 million students producing about 500,000 graduates annually.
At present, there are 39 LCUs comprising about 26 percent of the total public higher education institutions. Garcia said in the National Capital Region alone, there are 11 LCUs with about 44,000 student population in 2001-2002.
She also said LCUs are established through the passage of an ordinance by the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Panlalawigan. She lauded local government officials for establishing LCUs and supporting their operation out of local government funds.
"CHED has been giving special recognition or financial assistance to selected and deserving higher educational institutions exemplifying quality and the pursuit of excellence in their programs," Garcia said in her speech.
She also emphasized that CHED, since its creation in 1994, has been exerting all efforts to provide the needed policy and directions to raise the standards of higher education in the country.