This article was published in the Visayan Daily Star on May 18, 2016
Thirty-seven adults, with ages ranging from the early 30s to 55 years old, are getting their college diplomas today after finishing the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency Program in La Consolacion College-Bacolod.
Ma. Mercedes Joson, LCC’s ETEEAP director, said this batch is among the biggest to be conferred with degrees since the school was granted by the Commission on Higher Education the permit to be an ETEEAP provider in 2004.
“For almost 10 years, we only had about six graduates,” Joson said because of the fees involved until a couple of years ago when LCC adopted a new delivery system and payment scheme that were necessary for the program to survive and allow more adults the possibility of completing their higher education.
The new scheme was very encouraging and in 2014, when it opened, six students signed up with four more the following year, all of whom completed their requirements and along with the 2015 batch, 20 students joined the last graduation rites of LCC-Bacolod in March.
The new batch joining the Special ETEEAP Graduation today brings to 44 the number of adults who were conferred degrees since the implementation of the new scheme.
Joson said that more and more adults are inquiring about their program and “we are glad that we are in the right track in helping this segment of our working force who need their college degree to be regularized, to be promoted, and to have the capacity to dream bigger.”
Among the graduating class is journalist and PR practitioner, Maria Ester Espina, daughter of Visayan Daily Star columnist, Rolly Espina, and Roy Cordova, former Ceneco union president.
Another graduate, Joel Lagunilla, administrative officer III of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said “ETEEAP is really one of the biggest blessings” as he vowed to encourage others who dream of a college diploma to enroll in the program.
Other government employees who will get their degrees today are Sharon Sombrador and Emily Ausin also from DENR, and Marnellee Pelaez, Ma. Fe Flores, Nancy Getilda from the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Cordova said the ETEEAP has allowed him to “conquer all odds in my long journey towards a self-fulfillment struggle.”
Espina said the college diploma is “a realization of a dream put on-hold, a completion of a vow, an affirmation that visions can be achieved…in the right time.” As a single mom, “I had to put my son’s education ahead of mine but now that both are done with their college education, it was time to pursue mine.”
The special graduation will be at the LCC Millennium Hall, HTM Center with Dennis Rebueno, deputy regional director of CHED-NIR, as commencement speaker.