UP Open University (UPOU) conferred degrees and titles upon the 427 members of the Class of 2019 on October 12 in the UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna. Of the graduating class, 81 earned their undergraduate degrees while the rest received their graduate degrees.
In his commencement address, Retired Brigadier General Eliseo Rio Jr., Undersecretary for Operations of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said “ICT is now deeply embedded in human activities.” Access to information, he added, “is no longer a privilege, but a human right similar to food, shelter, and clothing.”
He revealed that the DICT is spearheading the National Broadband Program, which will address the issues of the country having slow yet expensive Internet access. Rio said Filipinos will start feeling the improvement in telecommunication services next year.
Delivering the message on behalf of the graduating class was Joey Ramirez (Bachelor of Education Studies, magna cum laude), who captured the UPOU brand of education in his speech. “The UPOU experience is not for everyone. It’s anything but a walk in the park.”
He explained that of the UP values of honor and excellence, “honor is even more emphasized [in UPOU] precisely because learners are largely left on their own.” There is that “implicit trust,” he said, that learners act honorably in their academic duties. UPOU students, he further stated, have the motivation to be excellent and their desire to learn, internal. “We [don’t have] somebody constantly following us around, making sure we follow the rules or do this or do that.”
In the end, Ramirez enjoined his fellow graduates to “give back to those who gave so much for us to be where we are today.” He asked them to embody the phrase in “UP Naming Mahal,” “pag-asa ng bayan” or nation’s hope; “to be the solution and not to add to the country’s woes.”