MANILA — Kalayaan College (KC), founded by University of the Philippines senior professors in the year 2000 and led by former UP president Jose V. Abueva, will end its operations, it announced on Facebook Tuesday.
"With deepest regrets, KC shall be signing off after 22 years of providing quality education to the public," Kalayaan College president Ma. Oliva Domingo said in an advisory dated July 4.
The closure, she said, was prompted by financial losses brought about by the declining student population and exacerbated by challenges caused by the pandemic.
The decision will become final after the ratification by the majority of its stakeholders, Domingo said.
The Quezon City-based institution has also informed the Commission on Education (CHED) of the decision.
"The Board apologizes for this short notice and extends its gratitude to all students and parents who put their trust in Kalayaan College," Domingo also said. "We take this opportunity to thank our faculty and staff for their dedicated service."
Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) Managing Director Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada said the closure is "unfortunate," and similar to many private schools, colleges, and universities affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.
He shared that enrollment in private schools has been on a down trend even before the pandemic, as more students and families opt for "free and near-free" education from public schools and state universities.
"We are hoping that the issues affecting the sustainability of the private education sector be looked into for proper interventions from our government," Estrada told ABS-CBN News.
"We hope measures to attenuate this be explored in order to preserve the complementary role of private education in our Philippine education system," he added.
Kalayaan College offered courses such as IT, fine arts and design, business administration, journalism, literature, and psychology.
KC was founded in 2000 by former University of the Philippines (UP) President Dr. Jose Abueva, along with other UP professors. The private, non-sectarian college promised "UP quality education" for students who could not make it through the state university's limit of enrollees.
"Parents who dream of sending their children to the University of the Philippines can now expand their vision and send their children to Kalayaan College," the KC website read.
Limited classes will resume on August 2022 where senior students can take their remaining requisite General Education (GE) and major classes to complete their degrees. Non-seniors are allowed to enroll for these GE classes but must do so with the knowledge that they may not complete their degree with KC.
Students who need courses for their degrees not offered at KC are allowed to cross-register with other colleges and universities. KC also promised immediate transfer of credentials for students who file applications for transfer to other schools.
Students will still be able to access their grades, register, and get updates on their academic status on the college's official portal, but KC will be transferring their records to the CHED-designated official repository as its operations wind down.
Kalayaan College is the latest in a string of private schools closures following low enrolment turnout due to the pandemic's strain on education attainment.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Monday met with private school associations to hear their concerns about the private education sector.
"[I] would like to assure you that we will take these issues into consideration — with the hope of coming up with appropriate actions and effective solutions," Duterte said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES