Higher Education Thrusts and Legislative Concerns; EDUCATORS SPEAK

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger P. Perez

THE Commission on Higher Education has developed and updated Policies, Standards and Guidelines for undergraduate and graduate programs, enforced the same through monitoring and evaluation resulting in phase-out and closure of more than 300 programs with poor performance in licensure examinations. Initially, we phased out those with zero performance in board courses, later raising the passing percentage to 3%; eventually we will raise the percentage to a higher level.

The CHED also established a quality assurance system through changes in its procedure in the evaluation of schools applying for permit and/or recognition of their courses. Because of complaints of schools that non-experts were sent to evaluate their programs, the CHED established the Regional Quality Assessment Teams essentially setting up a peer review system. Increasingly we are using accreditation status as basis for incentives for scholarships and acceptance of foreign students, or even for opening up new programs such as extension, distance education, equivalency and accreditation (ETEEAP), and graduate programs. Accreditation status is also a requirement for conversion to university status and of late for determination of grant of autonomy and deregulated status.

The CHED in acknowledging the enormous contribution of private higher education institutions in the growth of tertiary education and realizing the difficult and demanding task of supervising 1,200 private HEIs has approved the grant of autonomy and deregulated status to deserving private colleges and universities effective the second semester of SY 2001-2002. It is noteworthy that out of the 30 private HEIs granted autonomy, 23 or 76% are Catholic schools. Of 22 private HEIs granted deregulated status, 11 or 50% are Catholic schools.

Other programs for quality and excellence which the CHED has undertaken are on faculty development and facilities upgrading for identification of Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development, and implementation of the Standard Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) requirements. Moreover, by upgrading resources of maritime institutions, we have been able to raise the quality of these programs.

Faculty development is a very high priority in CHED. This is why we conducted a massive General Education faculty upgrading in the Visayas and the Mindanao Advanced Education Project (MAEP). Ongoing faculty development programs administered and or funded by the CHED are the College Faculty Development Program and the faculty program for those from the islands off mainland Luzon.

As part of the effort to improve the quality of inputs, we are now in the process of pilottesting admission tests for teacher education and for veterinary medicine. The problems on student quality in these programs need not be elaborated, as we are all aware of these.

The quality of research and graduate education continues to be a major problem in the higher education sector. As one of the major incentives during the term of Chairman Ester Garcia, all graduate programs, starting with teacher education, business administration and public administration, will be evaluated. We have commissioned FAPE to implement the project led by a high-powered team composed of Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, Dr. Lourdes Quisumbing and Dr. Dionisia Rola.

On access and equity

Every year, each institution of higher learning meets the problem of providing access to many students who want to enter college but can not, due to financial constraints. Thus, the CHED continuously reviews its policies and programs for scholarships, study grants and loan programs. Next year, the CHED will pilot-test a new scheme of National Scholarship and the Regional Study Grant in preparation for the ADB grants and soft loans for these programs. From the present R400M allocated for scholarships, study grants and loan programs, we intend to increase this amount to R1B to include students from state colleges and universities. …