It has been a dream that has been incubating for at least two years now. Aspiring medical students in GenSan have been waiting to see when the city’s Mindanao State University campus will finally open their long-promoted new College of Medicine. The word from back in 2018 was that the groundbreaking for the medicine building would be done that year. Ultimately, serious work would start only in February this year. As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to construction, such that the completion rate by June was only 25%. Now, MSU GenSan has decided not to open their first Medicine classes this academic year.

Minda News has it that the Mindanao State University of General Santos City has put off their debut of classes for their College of Medicine for school year 2020-21. The reason for this is quite obvious, as explained by MSU GenSan chancellor Dr. Anshari Ali in a statement this week. In his words, the university simply did not have time to ready a formal Medicine curriculum for the entry batch of students this year, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the adoption of alternative learning methods, which MSU was able to do only for some of its already-existing colleges.

“In as much as we desire to cater to the public demand, the university is apparently constrained to open the Doctor of Medicine program in the school year 2020-2021,” remarks Dr. Anshari, pointing out the time required to reconfigure their new Medicine course to a “tailor-fit online learning environment” simply was not enough to make the Department of Education (DepEd) directive to start classes by late August. So far, only 31 degree programs across MSU GenSan’s first eight colleges have been calibrated for online learning.

While the Board of Regents for the overall Mindanao State University education system has passed a Resolution for starting College of Medicine classes in GenSan campus to extend that course offering from the main campus in Marawi. But the fact that the new STEAM campus building to hold Medicine classes in remains unfinished has dampened hopes that it could be implemented. Were it not for the COVID outbreak necessitating the development time for online classes, MSU GenSan would have housed their first Medicine courses in classrooms of the Graduate School.

Nevertheless, according to the university no less than 50 students have enrolled for the College of Medicine, which is being supported by the city chapter of the Philippine Medical Association. The under-construction class building is also fully supported by South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, and Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Images: Wikipedia, MSU-GenSan Facebook page

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