By Jelanie Rose Elvinia and Yuys Fatima Escoreal
AS SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY failed to place in the 2013 top 300 asian universities based on a world’s trusted research institution. SU Administration defended that it should not be reflected as the university’s weakening reputation.
“We (SU) continue to work harder to give better services. Our sliding down the list cannot be said to be reflected of our weakening reputation – definitely not. Silliman remains to be strong. We remain to be competitive just like as universities in Manila” Mark Raygan Garcia, Office of Information and Publication’s head said.
SU was part of the ranking last year. However this year, SU slid down together with four other universities from the country. He explained that the descending of rank is due to the growing competitiveness among schools from neighboring countries such as Honkong and Singapore.
Darell Bryan Rosales, a junior AB Speech and Theatre student said that SU’s ranking does not matter: “I believe that Silliman’s goal is not to compete but to simply educate. Education in a sense that she prepares her students for the world, gives them the necessary equipment for them to live a good life.”
Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is an international research institution that annually does universities’ ranking in categories such as worldwide, Asian and regional. The ranking is based on: Academic and employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, papers per faculty, citations per paper, international faculty and student review and student exchange inbound and outbound. QS Ranking ranked SU as the top two university in the country with great number of international students having enrolled this year. It has 300 international students from 30 countries. Also, SU was cited as the top 6 institution in the country.
Garcia added that Silliman is concerned about improving its programs making them more attuned to the needs of the industry pushing for what he calls as “whole-person education.”
“Whole-person education means that we’re not only targeting academics. We develop our students to be confident, to be strong in terms of faith and in character. We also want them to explore the community around them and learn that the world is not about them but it’s also about the people they interact with – the poor people that they need to extend assistance to and including a strong awareness of the environment,” he said.
Garcia added that the university maintains and increases its competitiveness in terms of attracting international students enrolling in the university. In relation to that, he said that they went to five countries around Asia this summer to arket SU: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. These countries are Silliman’s considered as “priority countries”. There are three considerations why SU chose them: Proximity, perceived need of students in the areas (particularly to study in a reputable institution outside their country) and bilateral relations that the Philippines enjoys with these countries.
“We’re marketing Silliman not only for the trend of our academic programs but particularly with the campus environment that we have and the easy access to tourist spots,” Garcia said.
Improving programs and services SU was invited to be part of ASEAN Universities Network (AUN), an association whose goal is to strengthen the existing network
among leading universities in Asia. Garcia said that to be part of AUN is a key to enjoy the benefits ASEAN 2015 brings – a plan for the year 2015 that offers a “common credit transfer system”. This means that loads of students coming from universities part of AUN will all be credited as they transfer to another university that is part of the network. Part of its goals is also to increase the number of employability of the citizens of Asian countries by an easy recognition of one’s degree. By now, Garcia said that the University is improving its programs by making it international: “We are improving our services so that we’d become at par with our partners in Honkong, Singapore and Japan – three countries that are strong in terms of education in Asia.”