The UST-NSTP Program
November 23, 2008 4 Comments
I am an advocate of community development, provided that the strategies to be employed, the communities to be assisted, and the motivation utilized, is correct. This is the reason why I have profound admiration for the community development program of Mr. Jose Cruz, the Director of the Office for Community Development, UST, and the courageous men and women who staff his office for their resilience and resolve to become a true serving community development advocates.
But across the Main Building, past the library, at the left wing of Tan Yan Kee, I am not impressed.
Last semester, a handful of my classmates failed NSTP because of their long hair. The NSTP ordered these students to sport their hair short, and if they do not wish to do the same, they must secure a letter from competent college authorities certifying that long hair is allowed in their respective colleges. The NSTP is aware that long hair is allowed in CFAD, unless of course, they are situated in some other remote place light years away from Espana.
According to my NSTP instructor, whose name I forgot, they just conform to the university’s haircut policy. But we all know for a fact that the haircut policy is a local issue and varies in every college, faculty, institute, and school. But still, they require a letter from every student “for the purposes of documentation”.
Republic Act 9163, the NSTP Act of 2001, cites no specific provision as to the physical appearance of students taking the program. In fact, its primary policy is to “promote civic consciousness among the youth and shall develop their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism, nationalism, and advance their involvement in public and civic affairs.” (Par. 2, Sec. 2, R.A. 9163).
All my classmates with that sentiment miserably failed the course, and is forced to take it next year, only because of hair.
NSTP is not a major subject, though it is statutory in nature.
If the NSTP of UST wants to teach its students civic consciousness and to inculcate a TRUE sense of nationalism, then they should be THE FIRST KNOWN ADVOCATES OF DEMOCRACY and RIGHTS. Instead, they utilize their dwarf power into taunting students to do what is against their will; to cut their hair to pass the subject. If they lived a little northward of the Philippines and had a red flag, they will be called TOTALITARIANS.
Let us say, for the sake of argument, that they do this to teach students to follow the rules of the university as way of inculcating accordance to laws, then these people must understand that in CFAD and AB, a different rule applies and must not be interfered by a department like them. The NSTP instructors must not use failing students as a threat to do something against their will; putting the university’s policies as a shield to get what they want.
Another issue with NSTP is the distance of the communities they choose for the students to serve. I and my class LA6 was assigned to Alitagtag, Batangas, a 5th class municipality of Batangas close to the shores of Lake Taal. It’s far; I should know because I am from Batangas. And due to its distance, students are demanded to wake up earlier than usual. Not that I have anything against my kababayans in Batangas, but this is too far for students in their late teens. Saturday is supposed to be rest day, and they demand us to work all day teaching in that area. And non-compliance, of course, is countered with a standing threat of failure.
My instructor contends that it is one of the partner communities of the university that direly needs our help. But she does not see the point that students who are exhausted with 5 days and almost 9 hours of class a day cannot stand journeys of ions of hours. They have a tendency to be inconsiderate.
If they want to help, then find communities nearby who are in dire need of literacy assistance. Metro Manila is a large region, and it won’t be a struggle looking for some community within its borders. In helping, we help our neighbors first, then beyond.
The NSTP program is designed to make citizens responsible citizens, not to make citizens puppet of incompetent puppeteers who throw their puppets into the remote insular shelves of the nation, documenting the service for the sake of gratification, and tiring students to the extent of stealing the only rest day they have for themselves. Thou shalt not steal, especially free time.
Nothing personal. I think the program sucks and needs change. I know some of the NSTP instructors themselves see this need; they’re just too blind to see the light.
Peace, especially to the door across the Office for Student Affairs.