Senators want foreign students out of SUCs

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    SENATORS yesterday said they want foreign students out of state universities and colleges (SUCs) since these institutions should be for the exclusive use of Filipino students.

    Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said he was surprised with the report of Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera that foreign students have been admitted in the country’s SUCs and are paying tuition and other miscellaneous fees.

    De Vera made the report during the budget briefing for the P50 billion proposed budget for CHED next year.

    “I just cannot accept (that) foreign students would go to SUCs without any restriction, particularly in the areas where our own Filipino students are struggling to get into, this is in the field of medicine for example,” Drilon said.

    Sen. Cynthia Villar said foreign students must not be accepted in SUCs since these facilities have limited capacities which may deprive Filipino students of using them.

    “I don’t really agree that we should educate foreign students in our SUCs. I mean, we have limited capacities and we should give it to the Filipinos, not to foreigners,” Villar said.

    Their sentiments were also shared by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

    De Vera said CHED is crafting a provision which it will include in the 2021 proposed budget that will clearly state that SUCs are for the exclusive use of Filipino students.

    De Vera said some P4.6 billion would be needed to expand the capacity of the country’s universities to teach medicine should the Medical Scholarship Act be passed into law.

    “So, this is the bare bones budget that has been estimated to increase the number of medical students to about 5,368 per year,” De Vera said.

    He said the P4.6 billion will be used to fund the initial operating costs of SUCs with ongoing applications to offer medical programs, and for the carrying capacity of institutions already offering medical programs.

    There are currently nine SUCs in seven regions that have medical programs.

    He said three more SUCs have applied to offer medical programs – Cebu Normal University, Western Mindanao University, and the University of Southern Philippines.