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Aquino Names 2nd State University in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY—There are now two state universities in Bicol.

The second, signed into law by President Aquino, surprisingly is in the depressed island of Catanduanes, one of the six provinces in the region.

Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda broke the news, saying the former Catanduanes State Colleges had earned the reputation of providing good education to students in the region. He said students come as far as Camarines Norte, Masbate, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Albay.

Both the Bicol University (BU) and Catanduanes State University (CSU) also have records of doing well, if not topping board examinations, particularly in the field of engineering. A BU graduate bagged the top score in the civil engineering board a few years ago. Its graduates have consistently landed in the top 10.

Salceda said the state-owned BU and CSU are giving astounding performance in the field of education which other state colleges in the region are competitively following suit.

He said his province has already produced, under his stewardship, more than 160,000 scholars. BU bagged the first and second slots in the recently held electrical engineering board examination. In the last board exams for mechanical engineering in Septmeber 2012, BU again grabbed the second and 10th slots, a development that is a source of much pride to the local learning institution.

Salceda said every person has the right to a higher education, adding that under his program, the Albay Higher Education Contractual Scheme (Ahecs), the provincial board had passed an ordinance creating its own Department of Education, probably the only one in the country.

He said Ahecs scholars are granted a P5,000 enrollment assistance until graduation. BU has 54 contracted educators in Albay.

Records showed a CSU graduate and son of a poor and ordinary fisherman topped the 2011 board exams for civil engineering with two others garnering the second and third slots, a feat that bolted the virtually unknown college institution into prominence.

CSU officials said the school still charges the lowest tuition with an average of P3,000 per semester compared to other state colleges of reputed status.

According to CSU President Minerva L. Morales, the conversion of the Catanduanes State Colleges into a university was actually signed by President Aquino on October 19. The President also signed the conversion of Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges in Naga City to Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology under Republic Act (RA) 10231.

Morales said the President was initially reluctant to sign the state college’s conversion due to the existing moratorium in the creation of new state colleges and conversion into universities. However, before the President left for New Zealand, he signed RA 10229 converting the Catandunes State Colleges into a university.

CSU was initially known as the Catanduanes National Agriculture and Trade School. It was later renamed the Catanduanes Agriculture and Industrial College. In 1971 it was converted into the Catanduanes State Colleges worked out by the late Rep. Jose M. Alberto credited with the construction of the present sprawling 120-hectare school dubbed as the best and conducive learning institution in the region.

Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua said that with the state college’s conversion to a university, “we expect more enrollees from other Bicol provinces. He said CSU’s current student population was already nearing 8,000.

Source: Business Mirror

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