The need for a college in Dalaguete

By: Fernando Fajardo June 26,2019 - 06:56 AM

At the start of the new millennium, the ratio of college-to-high school students was 0.45 or 45 college students per 100 high school students.

Based on this ratio the potential demand for college education in the municipality of Dalaguete would have been 2,340 students. However, the actual college to high school ratio in Dalaguete was much lower at 0.18 in mid 2000s with its less than 1,000 college students.

The gap was close to 1,500 students. It could be an underestimation or a miscount but even if a third were added to the actual number of college students, the municipality would still leave a large gap of some 1,000 unmet demand for college education to be at par with the national average in college-to-high school ratio.

This unmet need or demand is traceable to poverty and non-availability of a college in town that prevented many high school graduates to go to college in the city.

Because of poverty, even going to the next town in Argao, which have a branch of the Cebu Technical University (CTU), was still not easy to do for many high school graduates in Dalaguete due to the extra cost of daily transport and meals in going to Argao daily.

This forced many of them to look for jobs prematurely. Some were lucky to be employed but many were not able to do so or took a long time to land a job. When they do, chances are they would earned less than the minimum wage working in small business enterprises or when the go into self-employment or informal business themselves.

In their desire to help its poor high school graduates to fulfill their full potentials as productive agents of our society, the local officials of the Municipality of Dalaguete, headed by Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante, proposed in 2004 to establish a college in the municipality. Wanting to know if the proposed college was feasible, the Municipal government of Dalaguete commissioned this writer to study the feasibility of putting up the college.

The study was completed in 2005. It found the project feasible in all aspects with enough number of students to make it viable when tuition is set lower than in the city. Project implementation started right away with the construction of a two-floor college building in the newly reclaimed land of the municipality on the left side of the pier towards the right bank of Tapon River. To avoid school politics and ensure the delivery of quality education, the study recommended that the college be operated by any of the many colleges and universities in Cebu City.

To attract the interest of the private university in to operate a college in Dalaguete, the use of land and building was to be rent-free for the first four years after which a mutually agreed rent would be collected by the municipal government. Three universities were approached. In this case, it was the University of the Visayas, which was most interested to accept the challenge. With the building already in place, the college immediately started operating in SY 2007-2008.

It has been 11 years now since the college’s first year of operation and 7 years since it produced its first graduates. To determine if putting up the college in Dalaguete was justified and met its objectives, the municipal government decided to conduct an impact study of the college, now called UV-Dalaguete.

An impact study or impact evaluation is an assessment of how an intervention in form of programs, projects, or activities meets its objectives and its impact on the life and welfare of its target beneficiaries, including its overall impact on the progress and development of the community where the intervention is put in place.

The proper analysis of the impact of the project requires an estimation of the actual benefits of the college endowed to its graduates in particular and to the municipality of Dalaguete in general. What those outcomes are have to be compared with how the high school students and the municipality of Dalaguete would have fared had the college not been established.

The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) impact evaluation guidelines defines impact as the “the attainment of development goals of the project or program, or the contributions to their attainment”.

In the same vein, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) guidelines states that project impact evaluation establishes whether the intervention had a welfare effect on individuals, households, and communities, and whether this effect can be attributed to the concerned intervention.

Well, it is interesting to see where the municipality of Dalaguete is situated now in terms of development and how the graduates from UV-Dalaguete performs in life after their graduation as opposed as opposed to being deprived of it. These I hope to write next week.

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