Philippine Tuition-Free College Opens Branch in Caloocan
Manila, Philippines – Poverty aside, quality and accessible education are preventing Filipinos from getting the kind of education they deserve. Just to get a high school diploma is also never enough to become competitive in the global arena today. The poor must earn at least a college degree in order to compete among their peers.
Realizing these realities and in a bid to give another lease of hope for the youth, the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) spiritual leader Bro. Eli Soriano with UNTV main man, Daniel Razon started offering free college education among poor but deserving students through an institution they recently launched in Caloocan, the La Verdad Christian College (La Verdad College).
The inauguration of the school’s first branch in Caloocan is yet another step taken by Bro. Soriano and Mr. Razon to help poor families send their children to school. The main branch has been operational in Apalit, Pampanga since school year 2009-2010.
“There are those who really want to study but they hardly can … One may be capable of studying but cannot do so … why not give them a chance as well? For as long as we see the potential, the willingness to learn and we see the sincerity and perseverance, we will help them,” Mr. Razon said in an interview.
In its opening last June 15, the college expects to accommodate more than 500 full scholars in its Caloocan and Apalit, Pampanga branches.
The school currently offers a four-year AB Broadcasting course. Its two-year course offerings include: Computer Programming, Mass Communication, International Cookery, Office Management, and Nursing Assistant.
Once admitted at La Verdad College, scholars are relieved of tuition fees and miscellaneous fees. Scholars are also given free uniform, books, meals and if possible, a dormitory (just like in La Verdad College Apalit, Pampanga branch).
To remain a scholar, students must maintain an average grade of 2.0 in college. In Apalit, Pampanga where elementary and high school are offered, students must maintain an average grade of 87 percent.
Asked if the school receives grants or support from the government, Mr. Razon was quick to reply in the negative, adding that help comes from zealous support of the Ang Dating Daan group or Members Church of God International (MCGI).
To fund the colleges’ expenses, Mr. Razon has been teaming up with some advocacy groups like Isang Araw Lang and Bible Readers’ Society International (BRead Society) to initiate benefit efforts like the successful Takbo Para sa Libreng Kolehiyo (Run for Free College) held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds last February this year and the Youth Convention and Concert (Y ConCon) in March, among others.
Through this public service, Bro. Soriano and Mr. Razon are keen in helping the government, especially the newly-elected administration of President Benigno Aquino III in producing prudent youths whom the nation can be proud of in the future.
Not only that La Verdad College maintains that it strives to offer quality education, but that school administrators and teachers are motivated to help make students equipped to become morally-upright, disciplined, and God- fearing citizens of the society.
The government supports public elementary and secondary learning levels. With the entry of La Verdad College, the country will see for the first time a tertiary level school which offers everything for free, including meals, textbooks and a dorm room.
Nowadays, almost nothing comes free. On the contrary, La Verdad College assured parents and scholars that even after completing their courses, students will never be asked to render volunteer or professional works with the institution in order to repay what La Verdad College spent for them. After graduation, scholars are free to pursue whatever careers they wish to enter.
“We have never believed that education is a privilege, but an inherent right of a person,” said La Verdad main branch in Apalit director, Carolinne Laguinto. She reiterated what Bro. Soriano once said about his vision for the La Verdad to give premium education to students without fees at all.
For at least in their two- to four-year stay at the college, La Verdad College scholars can forget about their poverty and focus instead on reaching their dreams.