Ateneo president Fr Karel San Juan SJ together with school heads and directors of member schools gathered for the 2017 General Assembly of the Zamboanga Basilan Sulu Tawi-Tawi
Association of Private Schools (ZAMBASULTAPS) and Catholic Educational
Association of the Philippines Region IX (CEAP IX) and Western ARMM last August 8-9 at the Yakan I and II function halls
of the Garden Orchid Hotel.
“Cummunio: Building and Sustaining Communities
for Life” aptly sets the theme for this year’s
general assembly. Mary Ann Cruz, Plan and Programs Director of the CEAP
National Secretariat, said that the theme is a reminder to nourish our sense of
community as private and catholic schools and help in building and sustaining
not only our own schools but also other schools who need our help.
two-day assembly was jam-packed with a series of lectures, updates, and
discussions on the latest developments in Philippine Education and had
presentations and reports by key persons. Among the highlights of the event was
the talk of Atty Joseph Noel Estrada, Legal Counsel of CEAP and a contributor
in drafting the recently passed law on Universal Access to Quality Tertiary
Education granting universal access to tuition fees to all state universities
and colleges. He emphasized the rights of every student in choosing a school
based on quality and not only because it offers free education. He also talked
about the law’s provision enabling the student to be enrolled in a state university,
state college, or a private school and still enjoy financial subsidy from the
government. He further talked about his appeal to the legislators “to look at
private schools as partners of the government in the delivery of education” which
can only be operationalized if the president signs the Universal Access to
Quality Tertiary Education into law.
Vice President for Basic Education Fr Stephen Abuan, SJ, presented the journey
of the Philippine Catholic Schools Standard (PCSS) in the process of becoming
legitimate and excellent inevaluating the standards of a catholic school. In the
process, Fr Abuan explained the eight defining characteristics of an excellent
school being: Centered in the person and message of Christ; Participating in
the evangelizing mission of the church; Animated by the spirit of communion; Established
as an ecclesial institution; Distinguished by a culture of excellence; Committed
to integral human formation; Engaged in the service of church and society with
the preferential option for the poor; and Promoting a dialogue of faith, life,
and culture. Moreover, Fr Abuan stressed that the PCSS is passionate about
helping catholic schools in describing and evaluating its policies, programs,
structures, and processes through the PCSS’s detailed self-assessment and
assembly featured an open forum to discuss certain matters governing the association.
AdZU president Fr Karel San Juan SJ, ZAMBASULTAP President and Regional Trustee
for CEAP Region IX sat with representatives from DepEd, TESDA, and other key institutions
to answer questions of the participants.
Romeo Saniel, OMI, Regional Trustee in CEAP ARMM, closed the assembly by
reminding all Catholic schools of its mission, which is to continue the mission
of Christ in serving the society.