Upon accepting his two-year term extension, Silliman President Ben Malayang III said in an interview last Sept. 7 that he has a set of steps to protect the Silliman faculty, staff, students, and alumni from risks that the transition years K-12 will bring.
“I agreed to have these two years because I see the challenges of transition… I certainly would like to see that these measures are successful,” said Malayang.
Before K-12 will be fully implemented by the end of his term, the university is facing the challenge of installing grades 11 and 12, changing the programs and teaching loads of faculty, and replacing subjects in the K-12 implementation.
Due to ASEAN integration-related change in curriculum, the university is facing concerns such as changing the academic landscape in basic education and the college level, adjusting some introductory subjects in college that will shift to senior highs schools, among others.
The ASEAN Integration will require schools in the ASEAN region to follow a standard based on scholastic capabilities. According to Malayang, if a school fails to meet this international standard, a graduate’s diploma from that school will not be recognized.
“I cannot imagine that we will allow that to happen. We need to make sure that the curricular content in Silliman is not only consistent with law but consistent with the standards of professions that are all global,” said Malayang.
To meet these changes, Malayang said that there’s a challenge in putting up a team within the university to coordinate responsibilities.
“[With this,] there is a synchronization of the assumptions of responsibilities…so that all in all, we have the university with many moving parts [that] are moving together at a drastic challenge,”Malayang added.
Malayang stressed that the administration has to trust each other, that all of them are “rowing to the same directions.”
The university is conscious in making Silliman more resilient to climate change, like how container vans are used to make buildings that are disaster proof and can accommodate evacuees despite strong winds and storms.
After changes in the educational system because of K-12, Malayang also said the administration is ensuring that they “do not lose the fundamentals” of Silliman in being a Christian institution.
Malayang encourages students to be receptive in creating future jobs after leaving the halls of Silliman. He wants Sillimanians to be the best person they can be.
“[Many schools] teach you to be the best engineer, the best nurse, or the best lawyer but in Silliman, we want [you to be] the best person; the best person who is a doctor, the best person who is a lawyer. You know where we do that? We do that in the totality in your campus experience,” said Malayang.
The Board of Trustees (BOT) extended Malayang’s term from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2018. He assumed office on June 1, 2006 for a term of five years. In 2010, the BOT unanimously granted him a second term of five years.
On what kind of leadership he has, Malayang said it is ‘dependent.’
“I am dependent to a lot of other people here. I’m just doing my job as other people do except that there are different levels,” Malayang added.
Malayang said that leadership is always a “network of people.”
“Some people think of it as high, medium, and low. I would rather look at it as part of circle, because the deans [will provide] leadership for their teachers and the teachers [will provide] leadership to their janitors and clerks,” said Malayang.
All the planning for K-12 is part of Malayang’s responsibility to ensure that by 2018, there will be a new president that will move the university forward instead of staying stagnant by solving the problems of the previous administration.
“I benefited from all the efforts of Dr. Pulido from his ten years as our [university] president,” Malayang said. He benefited from the efforts of the past administration, which is why he ensures that the next president will have the same experience.
According to Malayang, Dr. Agustin Pulido was the one who executed the university’s “aggressive accreditation system,” the one who stabilized the many programs in the university, and improved and expanded Silliman’s relations with its alumni and other friends.
Meanwhile, when asked about another extension, he that he “cannot and will not accept a third term.”
“I cannot and will not accept a third term. For me, two terms of five years is already long.
By Leslie J. Batallones
This university deserves new leaderships,” said Malayang.