While the validity and rigor of online education, especially that of online university level education is apt to be debated as it continues through its nascent stages. Though lacking in face time with professors, accredited online colleges to offer an education that is free from the bureaucracy of a traditional one. Registrars, admissions counselors and many secretaries are mostly automated and forms are available online and can be easily sent via email. Fewer things are lost in the cracks which can be completely commonplace in institutions where most information is kept not paper, not in the cloud. As my son neared the end of his education, our experienced quite the headache because of these sorts of ineptitudes and I would like a platform to vent.

Last 27 January I requested a Form 137 (Secondary Student’s Permanent Record) from the Registrar’s office at Olivarez College where my son Xavier Lourenco Kapauan Cortes goes to school, now currently in Fourth Year High School. The document was a requirement of the UP College Admissions office, after Xavier passed the UPCAT exams, but is currently with Pending Case status. They need the Form 137 to compute for the University Predicted Grade (UPG) prior to giving the passing student a student number.

After much discussion and travail I was told that the requested document will be ready on Friday morning, 30 January 2009.

And ready it was indeed, with my son’s name misspelled (Cortez instead of Cortes) twice in the document, and on the envelope as well.

My husband and I showed the mistakes to the person in charge, Wilbert (whose last name I do not know), who said we had to wait for the Registrar to countersign the corrected mistakes. When I asked how long we had to wait, he could not give me an answer. So I said anyone in charge of the office can countersign as long as the corrections were countersigned.

This is something about Olivarez College that I could never comprehend in all of the four years that my son has gone to high school here. THEY COULD NEVER SPELL HIS NAME CORRECTLY. My son’s name which is clearly on his birth certificate is XAVIER LOURENCO KAPAUAN CORTES. Read it once, read it twice, read it three times. I always wrote it in all caps just to be on the safe side, on all school documents we had to fill up.

But there was always the report card with the name spelled incorrectly, the name tag on the shirt misspelled and the ID card as well had to be returned so that a new one with the correct spelling could be issued.

But a FORM 137 is a PERMANENT record, and if the Olivarez College Registrar’s office can’t get that right, what does it say about them?

So armed with countersigned Form 137, Sam went to on Diliman to submit the UPCAT pending requirement. It was UP Diliman Admissions who found the anomaly in the final grade indicated for Technology and Livelihood Education: what should have been an 80+ or 90+ grade as for every other subject listed, had been entered as “5”.

Sam was telling me this over the phone as I sat, dumbfounded, behind my table at work. Sam said Diliman was asking for the form again, this time with no mistakes, corrections or countersignatures.

I picked up the phone to Olivarez and asked for the Registar’s Office again, this time demanding to talk to the registrar him/herself. I have never met the Registrar at Olivarez, it was always this team of young people in the main office with the glass windows that I saw each time I was there. I spoke to Wilbert again, and demanded a Form 137 that is perfect in every aspect that will be ready on Monday February 2 at 8 in the morning and that I refuse to pay for a second time because I do not pay for ineptitude.

And then, Wilbert of the Olivarez College registar’s office told me in a loud voice that this was all my fault. Kasalanan nyo naman ito ma’am eh, sinabi ko naman sa inyo na three weeks ang ganitong dokumento, pero kayo ang nagpumilit ng makuha ng tatlong araw.

He said that. Yes, he said that.

It was then that I realized that this Wilbert of Olivarez College Registrar’s office had no idea of what life beyond his glass windows was like, and that certainly he did not know what the UPCAT was and why I was demanding perfection.

I reiterated my demand to have a completed perfect form ready by Monday morning. Wilbert of Olivarez College Registrar retorted: “Ma’am kahit bukas.

I told him it was Saturday tomorrow and they may be closed. He said they were open in the morning.

I am almost sorry I sent my son to this school for four years. If this Wilbert of Olivarez College Registrar’s office is a product of this same college, then it’s best that I get my son out of there as soon as I can.

**Update**

Later that day I called up Teacher Jenny at the High School Guidance Office and told her about my encounter with the registrar’s office. Apparently she knew about Maui’s having passed the UPCAT, and so volunteered to visit the registrar’s office to see if she can do anything to sort the matter out.

Shortly before three o’clock in the afternoon I received a text message from Teacher Jen saying:

Ms. Gaerlan, Ms. Jen here. Just want 2 inform you that Xavier’s form 137 is now ready 4 pick up. We do apologize 4 wt hapn ds am. God bless.

I thanked her in return, but decided to go Saturday morning instead, as I still had to finish the workday at the office, although I admit I was practically useless the entire morning.

And now we do have the New, Real, Updated Form 137. Better printout than the last one as well. Wilbert Bonifacio (I realized it was he himself who prepared the original mistake-riddled form) was not around when I arrived. But Noreen was there to help me. She even lent me a transparent ruler when she saw that I wanted to check and compare each and every entry from the bad version with this new and improved (print-wise) document.

I asked Noreen if she knew whether the published email addresses on the Olivarez website were still active. She said that all emails were received at the MIS Department and then forwarded to the proper recipients. I asked this question because I had sent a letter of complaint via email addressed to all the email addresses I found on the website.

I thanked Noreen for her time, turned over the bad Form 137 and left.

Next update: Monday, Feb 2 2008.

The Ineptitude of the Olivarez College Registrar’s Office

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