Federalism is key to responsive higher education: CHED chief

MANILA Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III said on Monday that federalism will make higher education more responsive to the needs of the regions.

"Sa aking proposal, magiging shared responsibility ang higher education, iyong everyday na pamamahala ng mga state universities and colleges (SUCs) ay ibibigay sa kanila mismo, pero iyong curriculum, licensure tests, standards iyan ay mananatiling pederal (In my proposal, higher education will be a shared responsibility, the state universities and colleges will be responsible for the everyday governance, but the curriculum, licensure tests, standards will remain federal," de Vera told reporters in an interview in Quezon City.

Under federalism, de Vera explained, the government will provide basic higher education standards but the SUCs would be responsible for their enhancement.

"Bahala na sila magdagdag ng subject na makapagpapaganda ng kanilang mga kurso, ang mga board of regents ng SUCs ang naglalagay ng mga iyan, bahagi iyan ng kanilang kapangyarihan sa ilalim ng academic freedom, kung sa isang rehiyon gusto nilang mapalakas ang kanilang lenggwahe, maaari magdagdag ang federal state ng Visayas ng subjects na Cebuano (It's up to them to add subjects that will improve their courses, the board of regents of SUCs do that, it is part of their power under academic freedom)," he said.

De Vera said there will be a change in the content of higher education in every region, adding that SUCs will focus on the characteristics and strengths of their regions and will no longer offer all degree programs.

"Halimbawa, kung ang likas sa isang rehiyon ay agriculture, mining, fisheries, natural lamang na ang mga SUCs sa lugar na iyon ay magkaroon ng malakas na programa sa mga ito. Ang may alam niyan ay ang regional and local governments at hindi ang federal government na ma-tailor fit ang kanilang degree program sa kanilang mga regions (Example, if what's natural in a region is agriculture, mining, fisheries, it's natural for the SUCs in those places to have strong programs on these. The regional and local governments and not the federal governments would know how to tailor-fit their degree programs in their regions)," he said.

However, de Vera assured that the implementation of free higher education programs will not be affected by the transition of the government from unitary to federalism.

"Ang maapektuhan ay ang standards ng schools, itatali natin ang subsidy ng federal government sa kalidad ng edukasyon ng paaralan para makakuha sila ng reimbursement ng tuition and miscellaneous fees so obligado sila pagandahin ang kalidad ng kanilang pagtuturo (The standards of the schools will be affected, we will tie the federal government's subsidy with the schools' education quality so they can get tuition and miscellaneous fees reimbursements so they're obliged to improved their teaching)," he said.

While the SUCs will be responsible for the maintenance of their infrastructures under a federal government, de Vera said CHED does not discount the fact that poor regions would still require assistance from the government.

"Kaya sinusuportahan natin ang konsepto ng equalization fund kung saan ang gobiyerno ay magbibigay ng block grants sa mga lugar na mahihirap dahil magkakaiba ang (That's why we support the equalization fund concept where the government will give block grants to poor regions because of differences in) economic condition in every federal region," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency i