Adamson University: Creating broader access to quality education

Date Posted: June 22, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Raul Agner 4/10/17

      When Dr. George Lucas Adamson, a Greek chemist, established the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry in 1932, he had one singular purpose in mind: to give the Filipino youth an education that would help them engage in a livelihood right after graduation. He offered two-year Industrial Chemistry-based courses to carry out his mantra of maximum amount of practical instruction in a minimum amount of time. In four years, the fledgling school would evolve into the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering.

      What moved Dr. Adamson to launch an educational institution was the abundance of raw materials in the country that the youth could tap and manufacture into useful household products, such as soap, floor wax and vinegar, if equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills. Successfully steering his school into becoming a university in 1941, he eventually gave up its ownership and administration to the Congregation of the Mission (CM) or the Vincentians in 1964.

The Vincentians’ educational vision

      The new owner-administrators continued to serve the same student demographic, affirming a new vision for the university, thus: Adamson University, a Catholic Vincentian educational institution, is a recognized leading center for quality education particularly for the socially disadvantaged. That vision was anchored on the founder of the CM, St. Vincent de Paul, whose motto was The Lord has sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he believed that serving the poor was a balanced attention to their spiritual and material needs.

Making Adamson education accessible

      Today, there are several ways by which the university attempts to make its quality education within reach by those who have less: 

Affordable tuition

Adamson used to have the lowest tuition among private universities in Metro Manila. This was the reason why the university’s enrolment steadily increased over a six-year period from 2008 to 2013. Students from families with modest means opted to enroll in the university because of the low rates even if the quality of instruction and facilities was high. Today, the quality has even improved and the rates have spiked a bit but Adamson is still among the universities whose tuition is not really expensive.  

Individual scholarships

Many corporate, foundation and individually-funded scholarships are also available for those who meet certain criteria. 

Educational benefits

Adamson’s good working relationship with the Adamson University Faculty and Employees Association (AUFEA) has resulted in several agreements that have proven mutually beneficial. One of these is the educational privilege enjoyed by all regular employees for their children or relatives. The privilege covers free education from elementary to college. Employees themselves can take up law or graduate studies for free or at a discounted rate. 

Bridge program

The Bridge Program was instituted by Fr. Gregorio L. Bañaga, Jr., CM back in 2008 to address cases of students in the last years of their studies that could not finish their courses due to financial constraints. 

Student Assistant Program

The Ozanam Study Grant Program (OSGP) is the banner scholarship program of the University that has been going on for decades. It is named after one of the Catholic Church’s famous scholars, Blessed Antoine-Frédéric Ozanam, who founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) that pushes, among others, the idea of social equity. The requirement for admission to the grant is simple – being a member of a poor family.

      OSGP grantees become student assistants (SAs) who are assigned to work in the different offices of the university while studying. They enjoy a 100% scholarship, a monthly allowance, formation programs, coordinated activities and other perks. 

Scholarships for athletes and talented students

      The Athlete Scholarship grants full tuition exemption to those who qualify. An interested student has a choice in the various sporting events.

      The opportunity to avail of 100%, 50% or 25% discount in tuition fee is also granted to members of the Adamson University Pep Squad.

      For the musically inclined, their passion to play certain instruments could land them a scholarship through membership in the University Band, acoustic band and chorale. Dance troupe members also enjoy scholarships.

      While these scholarships come with perks, they also come with a responsibility that requires them to maintain a General Weighted Average to continue enjoying them. 

Non-formal education

      The Integrated Community Extension Services (ICES) is the outreach arm of the university. ICES conducts many activities that help marginalized communities and groups escape poverty. One of its major projects is the adopted communities in Marilao, Bulacan and Cabuyao in  Laguna. These communities are recipients of comprehensive assistance, including educational training. Among these are the training of community Day Care teachers by teachers from the Basic Education Department and from the College of Education and Liberal Arts, training in basic accounting and bookkeeping by Business Administration faculty and practical skills training from the faculty of the College of Engineering. ICES also established a School of Good Governance for Social Development (SGGSD) to train grassroots leaders from among the urban poor and informal settlers for leadership and ethical governance.  Summer school of life program. 

Alumni success stories

            Edgardo Sitjar used to be a janitor assigned to Adamson University by the agency that hired him. Not wanting to work as a janitor for the rest of his life and determined to earn a college education, he applied for the OSGP and qualified. He took up Mass Communication and even graduated magna cum laude. Today, he is a successful professional working in the BPO industry while at the same time pursuing his master’s in journalism. 

Ecela Judy Pagulong also served as a student assistant while taking up BS Education, major in English. The daughter of poor parents who lived in a sidewalk shack, she completed her studies successfully, graduating with cum laude honors.

Having very limited resources during her student days, Mrs. Lourdes Supetran struggled to earn a degree in chemistry. Today, she owns a big company that manufactures soap, detergents and other personal care products. She is a throwback example of the success of Dr. George Lucas Adamson’s dream of giving the youth a practical and rewarding education. 

Even wider access

            The various educational opportunities and successful alumni form the narrative of Adamson University’s vision of giving the poor an education that will free them from the clutches of poverty. The concrete results of this vision is enough reason to make the access to education even wider so that many more can enjoy its life-changing and lifelong benefits.