A College Is Not a Mom and Pop Small Business

Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. recently wrote "The Lethal Bomb in CMO 9 s. 2013". In the article, Fr. Tabora criticizes the following paragraph from the memorandum of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd):
“There shall be mechanisms for HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) to institutionalize more compassionate policies and guidelines particularly for those students belonging to the vulnerable and/or marginalized sector of our country. The HEIs must provide access on any financial assistance [sic] in cases where the stated students can not pay on the particular moment. In no case shall the HEI implement “no permit, no exam policy” [sic] in case of financial incapacities of the said students” (Sec. 25.3).
Assailing the above paragraph, Fr. Tabora writes:
Most troubling here is the fact that I am certain CHEd is aware of the importance of cash flow to the smaller private schools. CHEd, I presume, is not obtuse. Why then is it doing what it is doing in such a despicable manner? Is it trying to kill private schools? Is it trying to end the illustrious role private education has played in the history of this nation? Is it steering the country into a national educational system where there are no private universities and few private tertiary institutions? Is it trying to control higher education and form a network of docile government-run HEIs – without the tradition, the diversity, the experience, the wisdom, the creativity and headache of private education?
Chris Joseph, an eHow contributor, talks about cash flow in "Why Cash Flow Is King If You Are Running a Small Business":
Business owners struggling with negative cash flow can take a number of steps to improve their situation. Stronger collection policies can cut down on the number of slow-paying customers and purchasing quality used supplies instead of new products can reduce expenses. Instead of paying for needed services from other small businesses, develop bartering arrangements where you offer your services in exchange for theirs. Mark down slow-moving or excess inventory to get rid of it quickly so you can run a leaner operation.
Above photo downloaded from Cherry Lane Diaries
Higher education is being equated to a "Mom and Pop" small business. It is no surprise that colleges are sprouting like grocery stores in the Philippines. This is a country that currently does not have enough people with degrees beyond bachelors'. Yet, there are more than two thousand higher education institutions in the Philippines. As a result, less than 1 in 10 higher education faculty holds a doctorate degree.

One can compare this scenario with the state of Illinois, for example. Illinois has 307 colleges. It has a population of about 13 million. Illinois has a high school graduation rate of about 80 percent. The Philippines is about 95 million in population but its high school graduation rate is only 40 percent. Although the Philippines is about 7 times bigger than Illinois in population, a graduation rate that is half of Illinois' translates to only roughly 3.5 times more prospective college students. Yet, the Philippines has 7 times more higher education institutions. Illinois also is a state where 11 percent of its population have received an advanced degree. It is within these circumstances one should ask whether the Philippines should really have "mom and pop" colleges. Higher education is simply not a small business.

A "No permit, No exam policy" is the most absurd thing I have heard in education. Unfortunately, this is not the business innovation the country needs to progress.


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