MANILA — Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano in a privilege speech Monday castigated University of the Philippines (UP) officials for failing to hold the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) this year.
A product of UP himself, Cayetano said the non-holding of UPCAT has significantly reduced the number of Philippine Science High School (PSHS) students' admission to UP supposedly from the original 97 to 99 percent of exam takers to the now 60 percent.
The UP administration, Cayetano said, must not base their college admission on the grades of student applicants, since specialized schools like PSHS do not usually give high grades that the country’s prime state university requires.
Basing the college admission from the students’ final grades should not be used as a barometer, because by doing that, UP will fail to really get the “best of the best” students, he said.
“Kung titingnan mo ang grades, you will not get the best of the best. I take this personally, kasi pinapatay nila ang pangarap ng mga bata,” Cayetano said.
The UP, he said, is not also implementing the “Iskolar ng Bayan Law,” which automatically exempts a top class student from the university’s entrance exam.
"The best of the best are not getting in kasi nga mali ang sistema,” Cayetano alleged.
Cayetano’s observations gained support from Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is also a product of UP.
The best way to accept students in UP, Zubiri said, is through the UPCAT.
“I have people who come to me and complain that they are top of their class in certain schools but they weren't able to get into UP. And others, I have heard, were able to get in but not top of their class. So is there palakasan system there? I do not know," Zubiri said.
Last week, UP Office of Admissions Director Francisco de Los Reyes confirmed that the premier state university was suspending the UPCAT for the third consecutive year, citing the "continuing health risks and operational hurdles posed by in-person exams" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News