The odds have not been in my favor. After being fraught with anxiety for an entire week, the result of the first pre-enlistment batch run only sharpened the dread that has long beset me. The 12 units granted to me did not even reach the minimum load required for undergraduate students.
Although I have already braced myself for this moment knowing I will no longer be tagged with freshie priority for the first time, it did not soften the blow in any way. A flurry of emotions swept me—envy at those who were given the slots I wanted, fear over the prospect of being underloaded, and frustration toward a system that has long failed to meet students’ needs.
These emotions I confronted are reminiscent of the rants I kept hearing from my seniors when I entered UP last year. They told us that we have deprived them of the much coveted general education courses, albeit jokingly. As more than 500 students compete for a class that only has 25 slots, the system imparts a clear message: You can only secure your place by dispossessing your hundreds of competitors.
This drive for competition, where one can only accumulate by depriving others, underpins the logic governing the enlistment system. This marketized model encroaches on all aspects of our educational life—from the rigid view on rankings, restrictive admission system, to the limited units students must fight for.
In adherence to the market’s supply-and-demand mechanism, the overwhelming demand for general education (GE) classes drives departments to open more classes beyond their unit’s capacity. Burdened by the consequent load, faculty members can no longer accommodate more slots in their respective classes.
Yet these problems are veiled by the dogma of competition, making it appear as if the scarcity in these slots can be overcome only by winning against others through luck. Contrary to this individualized view of the problem, we all fall prey to state neglect that underlies this systemic dilemma.
Insufficient slots are a longstanding problem that continues to persist as issues of shortage in personnel and inadequate resources remain unresolved. There are 1,202 positions in UP that remain unfilled and the university is poised to incur a P2.9 billion budget cut in 2024. The rejection of UP’s bid to hire more items will also further impair its capacity to employ additional faculty members who could teach more needed classes.
Resources in the university are scarce, but they should not be. It is a result of deliberate neglect from the government that has billions to spare for dubious confidential and intelligence funds but gives way less than what the education sector asks for, with state universities and colleges set to suffer a P6.2-billion cut for next year.
It is neither our fellow students nor our overloaded departments that deprive us of our slots. Nor is our individual luck solely responsible. It all boils down to an education system rife with inaccessibility and insufficiency as a repercussion of the government forsaking its mandate.
No student should be bereft of slots because of a framework that engenders competition to cope with the shortfalls the state continues to inflict upon us. So long as this government neglect remains entrenched, the odds will never be in our favor. ●
Dec 2, 2023
Ang hirap pala kapag ako na ang nakatatanggap ng mga pangungumusta mo, ng mga kwento mo, ng mga ngiti mo.
Dec 2, 2023
Leila De Lima’s case cannot be isolated from the cases of nearly 800 political prisoners in the country, necessitating a justice system that could uphold fairness, equality, and the rule of law.