OFFICIALS of seven tertiary learning institutions met on Tuesday with those of The Manila Times College (TMTC) to explore ways of expanding the dual degree (or dual diploma) program to include students pursuing any course, not just communications courses.
The TMTC dual degree program allows college students to earn the journalism degree in addition to the original bachelor’s degree course in communications and related disciplines they are taking in their home universities.
The meeting, held at the Bayleaf Hotel of the Lyceum of the Philippines University, was attended by the deans and top executives of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Asia Pacific College, Manuel L. Quezon University, Baliuag University, National University, National College of Science and Technology of Cavite, the Lyceum of the Philippines University and the TMTC.
TMTC President Dr. Isagani Cruz explained to his peers that the dual degree program is being expanded to admit not only students pursuing degrees in English and communication disciplines but also students enrolled in any other course.
“You may want to send us your students in law, philosophy, psychology and other disciplines who would want to learn journalism and writing so that with these new skills they have a competitive advantage in getting employed,” Cruz said.
The Manila Times Chairman Emeritus Dr. Dante Ang explained that the schools must pre-screen the students so that they send to the dual degree program to those with a good grasp of the English language.
Ang noted a rapid deterioration in the English proficiency of college students and this has to be addressed through remedial programs that the universities may introduce.
Four colleges/universities now have dual-degree program agreements with TMTC, namely the Asia Pacific College, the Lyceum of the Philippines University, National University and Baliuag University.
Under the agreements, these universities send their students to TMTC for studies and actual training in journalism and on the job experience in The Manila Times for three to four summers. They must earn a total of 36 units, passing 21 subjects of 54 hours each taken during three to four summers.
This means dual-degree program students undergo more than 1,000 hours of learning, training and actual work as reporters, writers and editors. They then have to pass rigorous exams.
Ang said that graduates immediately found good, well-paying jobs in media, not necessarily in The Manila Times, and “we are proud of a batting average of 98 to 100 percent.”
Last week, Dr. Ang, Dr. Cruz and TMTC Dean Rene Q. Bas, who is also the Publisher-Editor of The Manila Times, met with officials of the Mindanao State University to expand the program in the South.