Nat’l Fair in Iloilo celebrates SUC’s impact to society

By Dr. Herman M. Lagon

STATE Universities and Colleges (SUCs) are the guiding lights in the ever-changing world of education, providing knowledge and opportunities for countless Filipino families. The upcoming National SUC Fair 2023 this July 10-13 at SM City Iloilo, with the theme “Navigating the global academic landscape through innovations, cultural & arts preservation, and higher education quality,” offers a chance to explore the transformative impact of SUCs and their potential to revolutionize education in our country.

As someone who recently transitioned from the private sector to the ISUFST, the country’s first and only state university of fisheries, I have witnessed the power of SUCs firsthand. These institutions go beyond education; they catalyze societal change, fostering community-building, progressive thinking, and holistic development through research, extension programs, and academic and moral formation. SUCs, really, cliché as it may sound, make dreams come true, enabling Filipino families—many of them from marginalized sectors—to send their children to school and empowering future generations.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III, the driving force behind initiatives like the free tertiary education UniFAST and the massive internationalization programs, is committed to providing accessible (even free), quality, and relevant higher education to the Filipino youth. His leadership of the country’s SUCs is centered on “diligently and conscientiously” ensuring the successful implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 and all the necessary higher education reforms.

While the University of the Philippines is renowned for academic excellence, we must recognize the vital role of other SUCs in providing access to students from public high schools. These institutions consistently achieve higher passing rates in board exams and higher employee productivity compared to most of their private counterparts, a testament to the exceptional work of SUCs nationwide.

In navigating the global academic landscape, internationalization becomes crucial. Most SUCs now embrace international collaborations to equip students with critical thinking skills for global citizenship and success in the international marketplace. By integrating global content into the curriculum, SUCs enable knowledge translation, talent mobilization, and global research support. However, considering challenges like commercial influence and academic colonization, internationalization should be approached cautiously. Educational policymakers are encouraged to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks while upholding the principles of quality education.

To pursue excellence, all SUCs are consistently pushed by CHED to foster a culture of research, innovation, and creativity. Collaborating with local and international partners is key to expanding research capabilities and driving socio-economic transformation. Through impactful research and community engagement, SUCs can improve local quality of life and contribute to local and international socio-economic, moral, political, and ecological development.

Transparent and participatory governance is essential for SUCs, too. Good governance practices and fiscal responsibility ensure effective resource allocation and an environment conducive to academic growth. Additionally, SUCs are encouraged to leverage modern technologies like social media to amplify their achievements and research, reaching a wider audience and maximizing their visibility and impact.

The SUC Fair 2023 in Iloilo this week is an opportunity to acknowledge the transformative power of SUCs and their potential to shape a brighter future for our country. The fair showcases the accomplishments, strengths, and untapped potential of SUCs nationwide, bringing together stakeholders, policymakers, educators, students, and the public to exchange ideas and foster collaborations that enhance the quality and impact of SUCs.

Let us celebrate SUC’s achievements and pave the way for growth and improvement. Together, through collective effort and unwavering dedication, we can navigate the global academic landscape, create more knowledge, ignite innovations, preserve our cultural heritage, promote social justice, and ensure the delivery of the highest quality of higher education. With SUCs leading progress and excellence, let us forge a brighter future, transcending boundaries and propelling our nation to unparalleled heights.


Dr. Herman Lagon fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice. He is a physics and math professor of ISUFST, an educational leadership student of USLS, a retired Principal of Ateneo, and an alumnus of UP, UI, and WVSU.