Sorsogon State College
Saturday, April 21, 2007
|Striving for relevance and excellence
The SORSOGON STATE COLLEGE (SSC) was established in 1907 as the Sorsogon Provincial Trade School, an elementary school meant to train boys and girls with aptitude in the trades for immediate employment. Situated in a two-hectare campus, a portion of which is part of the present SSC Main Campus, the school initially offered woodworking as the only trade course for intermediate pupils.
In school year 1926-1927, the school began offering secondary education and eventually phased out its elementary program. Then in 1950, it opened its doors to girls who could take food trades, cosmetology or dressmaking for specialization.
By virtue of Republic Act 704 enacted on May 14, 1952, the trade school was renamed the Sorsogon School of Arts and Trades (SSAT). Its short course offerings were expanded to include architectural drafting, building construction, electricity and furniture and cabinet making. Two years later, the two- year technical course with specialization in the same trades as those for the secondary course was introduced. Soon, machine shop practice, radio mechanics, automotive mechanics and refrigeration and air-conditioning were added as major courses.
The Sorsogon State College in Sorsogon
As early as in the mid-1970s, during the term of Rep. Rafael Aquino, plans were made for the conversion of the school into a state college. However, the move was stalled right from the start. Later, Assemblyman Augusto Ortiz showed interest in pursuing the plan at the Batasang Pambansa, but there was a moratorium on the creation of state colleges and universities.
From the late ‘70s through the early ‘90s, SCAT, as an institution under the Bureau of Vocational Education, had strong support from the national government and some international organizations. Under the Technical-Vocational Education Project (TVEP), many faculty members were recipients of scholarships in both the vocational and academic fields. As one of the 10 TVEP schools in the country, SCAT obtained special funding for the Diploma in Technology program. Many faculty members were sent to Australia for one-year training in technical fields under the Philippine Australia Technical-Vocational Program (PATVEP). The school was also a recipient of a number of machines and equipment for mechanical technology, automotive technology, civil technology and electrical technology from the Australian government. Some faculty members were also given the opportunity to study abroad through the Colombo Plan.
It was in the early ‘90s when the conversion plans were seriously considered and pursued primarily through the efforts of Rep. Salvador Escudero III. While working for the passage of House Bill 4210, the congressman, in coordination with SCAT officer-in-charge, Dr. Bonifacio Ativo, initiated school-based activities in preparation for the transition. After the passage of the bill by the House, then Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani pushed for its passage in the Senate.
Finally, on December 30, 1993, then President Fidel V. Ramos signed the bill into R.A. 7666, converting the Sorsogon College of Arts and Trades (SCAT) into the Sorsogon State College (SSC) and integrating with it three vocational high schools in the province – the Bulan Vocational High School (BVHS), Magallanes School of Fisheries (MSF), and Sorsogon National Agriculture School (SNAS). Thus, SCAT, the main campus, was renamed the School of Industrial Technology and Education while BVHS became the Institute of Management and Information Technology. The MSF and SNAS have become the School of Fisheries and Fisheries-Based Technology and the School of Agriculture and Agriculture-Based Technology, respectively. Each of the four campuses had its own respective "niche" program offerings.
Dr. Augusto Nieves, SSC’s first president served the school for two terms, from 1995-2005. Under his term, he instituted a number of academic and administrative programs that gradually placed SSC in the map of academic excellence and high administrative performance in the Bicol Region. He was succeeded by Dr. Antonio Fuentes on November 20, 2005. A seasoned administrator, having been the Campus Director of the Castilla Campus for 10 years, Dr. Fuentes’ vision for SSC included the furtherance of all existing programs started by his predecessor and empowering the faculty and the support staff for a more efficient and effective instruction, research, extension and production.
The Sorsogon State College is fast becoming a leading institution of higher learning in Sorsogon and nearby provinces. Despite setbacks brought about by two strong typhoons near the end of 2006, it was able to attain modest gains along its four-fold functions of instruction, research, extension and production.
Thirteen years after its conversion, three of its 20 curricular programs enjoy Level I accredited status while a candidate status has been recently awarded to six others. Preparation for the preliminary visit of four other programs are also under way. In compliance with the Ladderized Education Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), it has committed to have four of its 17 undergraduate degree programs ladderized this school year.
SSC is gaining academic excellence in engineering and education with the notable performance of its 2006 graduates in the board examinations for engineers, teachers and master electricians.
Emmanuel Liwag, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering graduate, made history by landing in the top 10 of the board examinations for electrical engineers in April 2006. With an overall rating of 89.40, he placed eighth among 1,357 successful examinees. In the board examination for master electricians, Christian Meralpes got the fourth place among thousands of examinees nationwide. A 100-percent passing percentage was also obtained by the 2006 Civil Engineering graduates while 80 percent of board examinees for Mechanical Engineering also passed. For the education undergraduate program, 73 percent of its 2006 Secondary Education graduates hurdled the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) with English and Chemistry majors garnering a 100-percent passing rate. Overall, its performance in the LET from 2001-2005 consistently surpassed the national passing percentage.
Much has been done in the other three mandated functions of SSC. This year, it started a bold move of encouraging research and development endeavors by providing cash incentives to researchers and increasing the research budget allocation from R330,000 to R1 million. It also served an average of 380 beneficiaries per year in its extension projects and provided consultancy and technical services to farmers and fisherfolks in Sorsogon. It has 24 income-generating projects with a revolving fund of R1.3 million.
Presently, new directions for SSC are embodied in its Medium Term Development Plan for 2007-2011, in order to ensure relevance and quality assurance. This is to attain the greatest effectiveness and efficiency in its four mandated functions and laying out the foundation for universityhood. It has started implementing the following unprecedented strategies for development: people empowerment through decentralization of funds; re-engineering or harnessing potentials of faculty and staff through a stronger faculty and staff development program; realignment of program offerings; research development and extension services interfacing with production efforts; and programs in support of student welfare and development.
The strategies in support of student welfare and development include 555 strategy for library services or five books per major subject within five years and five workstations for internet access in every library of the four campuses; on-line registration and computerization of student records; mobile admission, comprehensive placement program; better health maintenance and preventive care services and upgrading of its instructional facilities.
It has also diversified its curricular offerings in the Graduate School. Apart from the existing Master in Management, it now also offers Master in Teaching and Master of Arts in Education programs. Additional program offerings utilizing a nearby idle site called "Kasanggayahan Amphitheater" is likewise being studied for ladderized and distance learning courses.
Indeed, the present set of leadership in SSC is seriously committed to pursue both quality and relevance in all its undertakings in order to realize its vision of becoming a center of excellence in the formation of a progressive, productive, self-reliant, responsive, nationalistic, ecology-friendly and value-oriented people for a united, peaceful and agri-industrialized Sorsogon. As the only state-owned college in the province, its ultimate goal is for all four campuses to qualify either as a center of development or a center of excellence in their respective areas.
Consistent with its mission of providing quality and relevant instruction, the Sorsogon State College offers academic programs and courses that can help propel the development of Sorsogon as a predominantly agricultural province. The objective is to push for the province’s agri-industrialization through the offering of courses that make use of its indigenous materials and locally grown resources.
With this in mind, agriculture and agriculture-based technology courses are offered in the Castilla Campus and fisheries and fisheries-based technology courses are likewise offered in the Magallanes Campus. For the past 12 years, both campuses have produced graduates who are either gainfully employed or self-employed in their own localities.
The Bulan Campus offers management and information technology courses. In addition, accountancy and entrepreneurship programs are also offered to cater to the needs of its growing clientele who come from as far as Samar and Masbate. Bachelor of Technical Teacher Education, a course that prepares teachers in technical-vocational education and training (TVET), will soon be added to its list of curricular offerings.
In the Main Campus, SSC offers graduate courses, namely, Master of Arts in Teaching majors in Technology and Home Economics and Livelihood Education Technology; Master in Education majors in Mathematics, English, and Filipino; and Master in Management majors in Administration and Supervision, Educational Management, and Public Administration. In the undergraduate level, education, engineering, architecture and vocational technology courses are offered. It also maintains a laboratory high school. (FLORIDA F. NARVADES, RUBY L. LEANDER, and LENY D. BERDIN)