Around the University TownAre You Just A ‘Wish’?

Are You Just A ‘Wish’?

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I would like to share with my academic colleagues in this University Town this email I sent to the members of the Administrative Council of Foundation University.

I am sure you have read the book, The Little Prince. It is claimed that it is the third most-read book in the whole world. The Bible and the Qur’an are the first and second, respectively. It is written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. One of his famous quotes: “A goal without a plan is a wish.”

This quote makes me wonder if we, as members of the Administrative Council, are nothing but a “wish”?

Let me share with you my attempts as dean of the Graduate School and director of IYSPeace to make myself and the sectors I head, more than just a wish.

At the Graduate School, the goal is to have each head of the public schools in Negros Oriental and nearby-Siquijor, a holder of a graduate degree, preferably a doctorate. Achieving this goal will provide each school head the mantle of a professional status and sense of pride to change the current perception that they are public workers who are poorly-trained, incompetent and failing in their duties to nurture the young people for the future. The children and youth whom they teach are not only ill-prepared but are also lacking in what I call desirable values and virtues.

The plan, and which I am grateful for the support given to me by the President and the Vice President and the faculty, is to have in place a culture that is in consonance with PUPA (program of uncompromising personalized attention), providing maximum assistance to the students without watering down the standards of quality graduate education. The plan also includes the utilization of current technology which will bring our services to the students and minimizing the necessity of their coming to the campus. This is a trend where universities abroad find a substantial market outside of their locations especially in Asia. We must compete for our market share lest these foreign academic institutions leave us nothing and kick us out of business in our own turf and backyard.

The plan for teachers is also adopted for heads of the much-maligned local government offices, reputedly a bastion of incompetence and corruption. Like the education sector, we need leaders in local governments armed not only with professional skills but imbued with our underlining moral philosophy of education for values and virtues and doing things the better way.

The goal is to test the viability of IYSPeace as an “experiment” in the utilization of sports, play and physical activity based on the prescriptions of the UN Task Force on Sports for the Millennium Development Goals using sports “NOT for the creation of new sporting heroes but in its broader context for health, education, social transformation, communication, global partnership, and most of all, for peace-building.

The Plan has many components: “Children@Play” which aims to provide opportunities for children to indulge in play and recreation as mandated in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; the “Every Child in Sports, a Sport for Every Child” which answers the lesson learned in the recent London Olympics where the UK athletes, after a remarkable success, the UK Olympic body now recommends compulsory school sports as the key to Olympic success.

The PE Program for children at the North Campus, to compliment the iPad program, will henceforth adopt this post-Olympic recommendation through the “every child in sports” program.

There are other components of the IYSPeace Plan focused on the professionalization of coaches and the promotion of peace through the “Children Futsal for Peace” tournament celebrated in September, the Month of Peace, and in the observance and promotion of a “School Sports Covenant” prescribing among all participants to observe honesty, non-violence, avoid drugs, respect authority, friendship and camaraderie, and care of the environment.

I am sharing this with you because Dean Sinco has been exhorting us to have concepts. Concepts bring forth goals. Goals inspire plans.

Without plans, we are nothing but wishing wells. And with the urgency of climate change and other global developments, wells are drying up.

Be more than just a “wish.”

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