Institutional Accreditation: A New Step in Philippine Education

Manila Bulletin, February 16, 2009 | Go to article overview

Institutional Accreditation: A New Step in Philippine Education


A RECENT survey on World University Rankings by an international assessment body placed a prestigious Philippine state university in second place. In the remote past, a similar ranking of Asia's Best Universities placed the top three Philippine private schools in the 71st, 76th,and 78th ranks, while the state university was 32nd.

In both surveys, there were clarifications as to the bases of the ranking, but most especially, the relevance of the ranking to local institutions. In the latest survey, a high-ranking official of one of the institutions was quoted as saying that the ranking was important to their academic community, "because it shows how people outside see us." Although referring to the foreign evaluation bodies, which allotted 40 percent to peer review, 20 percent to citations/faculty, and 20 percent to faculty/student scores, among others, she could also be alluding to peer judgment in voluntary accreditation in our country where the faculty of some institutions evaluate similarly situated institutions under mutually agreed criteria and instruments.

Accreditation in the Philippines is practiced by five private accrediting agencies in the country. In compliance with Article III, Section 3.a of CHED Memorandum Order No. 1, s. 2005, the agencies submitted before May 31, 2005, their SEC Registration, Articles of Incorporation, and approved ByLaws, including descriptions of their accreditation process, procedures, and instruments, to the Commission on Higher Education, which, after perusal of the required documents, gave them recognition, subject to review every five years. The five CHEd-recognized accreditation bodies are currently under two umbrellas. The first is the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) for the private sector, composed of the Philippine Accrediting Association for Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU) the Philippine Association of Colleges, and Universities - Commission on Accreditation, (PACU-CoA), and the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges, and Universities - Accrediting Agency Inc., (ACSCU-AAI). The second is the National Network for Quality Assurance Agencies (NNQAA) for the public sector, composed of the Accrediting Agency for Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP) and the Association of Local Colleges and Universities - Commission on Accreditation (ALCU-CoA). As provided for in the CMO, common standards must be complied with, such as candidate status for the preliminary survey and one of the four accredited levels - Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV. Only two of the country's higher education institutions - De La Salle University and the Ateneo de Manila -- have so far attained the much-coveted Level IV accreditation status.

But what does accredited status of a school mean? Does it refer to programs offered by an institution, or to the whole institution itself offering various programs? When we say the Rizal State University has a particular accredited status, do we refer to the whole RSU as an institution, or only to some of its programs like Teacher Education, Civil Engineering, Nursing, etc., as evaluated under program accreditation as the unit of assessment?

In a paper on "International Higher Education Quality Assurance Practices: Situating the Philippine System," the former CHEd Commissioner, Dr. Roberto N. Padua, wrote that "In the Philippines, despite the huge number of colleges and universities and the extensiveness of its higher education system, the current practice remains that of program-level accreditation."

For his part, Dr. Manuel T. Corpus, AACCUP Executive Director and one of the foremost advocates of institutional accreditation in the country, revealed in a paper on "Redesigning the Philippine Quality Assurance System" that "almost all countries have mechanisms in place that assess the institution as a whole, the individual academic programs, or a few others using a mixture of both. …

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Institutional Accreditation: A New Step in Philippine Education
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