A New Era for Higher Education Accreditation in RP; Educators Speak
Byline: NILO E. COLINARES Ed.D.
ACCREDITATION of educational institutions is akin to a recent management practice called KAISEN, the Japanese term for a concept of quality as a search for continual improvement where responsibility is shared by every worker. This runs counter to what UK Manchester Metropolitan Universitys Phil Hodkinson calls post Fordism or neo Fordism (Ford Motors management principles and practices) which seeks to redefine quality something to be inspected as finished products come off the production line. This results in faulty products being rejected or junked but never addressing the causes of poor quality and inconsistent workmanship. Under Kaisen, end of the line quality inspections are unnecessary and not helpful for everyone is an inspector.
This concept of quality is what accreditation of schools is all about voluntary submission of an educational institution for assessment, evaluation by a team of "inspectors" from similarly-situated schools. The team does not visit an institution for inspection with the end in view of rejecting and junking faulty products but helps to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the system in order to effectively address the causes of poor quality. Accreditation begins with a self-survey, labelled under the improved scheme as Program Performance Profile (PPP), participated in by all members of the organization where everybody becomes an inspector. Many faculty members and non-teaching personnel of schools confess that it is this part of the process which makes their organization more cohesive and united with the members setting aside all animosities and parrying all signs of factionalism for all are focused on the institutional goal.
In many countries all over the world, accreditation, also known as quality assurance, is voluntary in nature. It has been practiced for many years in Russia, Hungary, Poland among others, to combat the explosive growth of commercial institutions in higher education. However, voluntary quality assurance policies in these countries are not set up by educational institutions but are laid down by their government with the aim of guaranteeing quality in higher education. In the United States after which our educational system has been patterned, quality assurance rests on the shoulders of the Department of Education or the Commission On Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) which takes charge of giving recognition to private accreditation organizations.
In the Philippines, accreditation is purely voluntary with the private sector having three agencies the Philippine Accrediting Association for Schools, Colleges and Universities, (PAASCU) the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission On Accreditation (PACUCOA), and the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities Accrediting Association Inc. (ACSCU-AAI) under the umbrella of the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP). Now on its 28th year of corporate existence, the federation has for members, a total of 311 higher education institutions with 936 programs at various levels of accreditation. These are led by De La Salle University with 23 programs at Level IV, the first ever in the world of accreditation in the country.
For their part, the government-supported institutions have banded themselves to a National Network of Quality Assurance Agencies (NNQAA) composed of the Accrediting Association of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP) and the Association of Local Colleges and Universities-Commission On Accreditation (ALCU-COA). Moves have been under way that like the US which is our model in terms of educational practices, the Commission on Higher Education should have a direct hand only in the recognition of accrediting agencies and once recognized, these agencies should be left to operate with full autonomy. Monitoring and supervision may still come in but definitely not through third party organizations. …