I am pleased to report to the UE community that this year again gave us a bountiful harvest of quality programs and outstanding students and graduates. Together, we have achieved much to improve the University and I wish to take this occasion to thank all of you: faculty, staff, students, alumni, academic and administrative officers, and the Board of Trustees of the University.
In 2007, we had three freshly accredited programs, all level II and all in UE Manila. Now UE has 48 accredited programs in all: 33 in Manila and 15 in Caloocan, three of which are level IV. Only 10 programs are not accredited, five of which are new and one has no accreditation process in place. The other four do not meet the requirements. Because of the high percentage of accredited programs, our autonomous status has been extended to 2019, and the UE College of Computer Studies and Systems has been upgraded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) from Center of Development to Center of Excellence. Our next challenge is meeting the upgraded standards of CHED to continue to merit our autonomy.
This year we welcomed our first batch of Grade 12 students, tripling our Basic Education enrollment. This will constitute the historic batch of Filipino students finishing 12 years of basic education, the standard in most countries of the world. They will be our college freshmen for the next academic year, 2018-2019. In preparation for this batch of students, CHED will implement new curricula for all the different degree programs, including an upgraded General Education program. To enable the higher education sector to meet this challenge, CHED implemented GE training programs all over the country and UE has been selected as one of the training delivery institutions, both Manila and Caloocan. Moreover, the UE Graduate School was also selected as the delivering institution for the CHED faculty development programs in MS in Accountancy, MS in Dentistry (Orthodontics), Doctor of Information Technology and PhD in Multidisciplinary Metropolitan Studies, in recognition of our expertise in these areas.
Despite the decline in tertiary level enrollment due to the lack of freshmen students, our enrollment showed only a very slight decrease: from 61,024 (SY 2015-2016) to 55,260 (SY 2016-2017) due to the enrollment in Senior High School.
Our students continue to bring honor to the University through their achievements in their academic, cultural and sports-related activities. This year, four of our students got 1st and 3rd prizes in the 59th Shell National Student Art competitions and one is a grand winner in the Chic Category of the 17th Jewelry Design Competition. Most of our programs now show higher than national passing percentages in the boards and UE Manila garnered a 100% passing rate in the two Mechanical Engineering boards this year. We have eight topnotchers: one in the ECE board (Edmar Tobie G. Mortera, No. 7), two in the CPA board (Judy Ann M. Ann Tuzon, No. 2, and Uriah R. Diaz, No.