Making Up for a Show

by Mary Therese Encina

“….it appears that accreditation becomes a must for a school to be a quality school other being a quality school first in order to be accredited.”

“Daw kanami yanda sa’ton school haw?” “Accreditation na ngadaan.”

Isn’t it surprising? Surprising! Isn’t it amazing? Yes, it is indeed amazing that the campuses seem to be a little more appealing during accreditation seasons than it usually is during ordinary school days.

Many appear to be suddenly changing their behaviors and conduct in school during these scheduled times in order for the school to acquire good ratings. Good ratings, after all, may mean passing another level of accreditation–the accreditation that, ideally, should reflect quality education.

Many times, I’ve heard students’ comments who obviously noticed the “make-up” of the surroundings days before the accreditation. “Ngaman gasab-it sila sina sang mga signboards oh?” “Para magnami man ang itsura sang eskwelahan ta. Accreditation na nga daan.” There it goes, the newly-painted hallways and well-arranged offices are just parts of beautification process of campuses to please the accreditors.

Yes, colleges really need to be accredited. In fact, many colleges are applying for accreditation because it seems to create a brand new face for the college, a proof that the said school is capable of offering quality education.   That makes accreditation a “must”.

However, it appears that accreditation becomes a must for a school because passing it will make it a “quality school” other than being a quality school FIRST and then be certified after passing accreditation.

It is noticeable that everyone becomes just a bit busier during accreditation season–office documents become extra organized, nobody is late or absent, the perfect classroom setup pops up, students and teachers both seemingly extra active and motivated in class.  Walls, hallways, corridors, bulletin boards and other facilities look better during this season.

It is pleasing for a school to appear organized and well-run.  Who wouldn’t love that?  Never wrong, doing all those things and more are all vital to the school.  What makes many things wrong is our misunderstanding that accreditation days are like a season of holidays, keeping everyone thrice as busy as they usually seem – busy in covering the flaws of the colleges, busy in making the “image” of the school better than it actually is in real life.

In general, it is never too wrong to beautify schools in all aspects, in all angles during the accrediting days as long as that improvement lasts all throughout the year, and NOT by doing on-the-spot actions for those scheduled days to make it extraordinary, and then reverting to the normal and ordinary life after.

Let there not be a masking of schools in order to garner high ratings. The more all of us try to cover up the flaws of our colleges, the farther it becomes from the status all of us are trying to attain.

It takes a longer time for schools to become a better quality school and it is NOT through accreditation. Accreditation is a recognition, a certification or an authorization that a college has already met the standards for a quality school.

Accreditation doesn’t make a school better.  It only shows that the school has become better than it was before.

If we all want to get accredited in all departments, in over-all aspects, (of course we do) then let’s make every improvement and positive change long-lasting, truer and not just a make-up for the show to an audience of accreditors.  That thought goes, not just to our administrators, faculty and staff, but to each and every student of every academic institution.

Author: Mary Therese Encina

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