New bill seeks to improve CHED

The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Rep. Mark O. Go (Lone District, Baguio City), on Thursday held an online Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting to approve the draft substitute bill amending certain provisions of the charter of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Republic Act 7722 or the "Higher Education Act of 1994”. Read more: Congress (2020). Lawmakers push for Revised Higher Education Act. Press and Public Affairs Bureau. 22 May 2020 09:41:54 PM.

The bill entitled "Revised Higher Education Act” seeks to strengthen the CHED in terms of the following: 1) its powers and functions; 2) qualification requirements for CHED officials which include a doctoral degree; and 3) minimum standard requirement for professors for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Local Colleges and Universities(LCUs), and private Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs).

Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) President Dr. Tirso Ronquillo agreed on the need to strengthen CHED as a central policy and rule making body of the country’s higher education institutions.

“The proposed substitute bill clearly articulates and broadens the powers of the commission, enabling it to provide strong leadership and direction in the development and reforms of higher education in the country,” Ronquillo said.

When it comes to the autonomy of CHED, Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), proposed to the committee that CHED should only have oversight powers over HEIs, especially on the SUCs.“It cannot control decisions of the Board of Trustees of public universities and colleges. It cannot likewise supervise said education entities because they are autonomous. But certainly, the oversight function is there so that CHED can correct any violations on the regulatory functions of the commission,” Rodriguez said.

CHED Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jaro supported Rodriguez’s position. However, Jaro pointed out the proposed quasi-judicial power of CHED should only be an oversight function with respect to state colleges and universities.

Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada, Managing Director and Legal Counsel of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) likewise supported Rodriguez’s proposal. He also proposed that the substitute bill should let CHED prescribe one set of standards when it comes to program offerings to be followed by all universities and colleges, whether government or privately operated.

From the Association of the Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU), Executive Director Dr. Raymund Arcega backed the passage of the substitute bill but requested that it should include LCUs and Private HEIs in the budget of the public institutions of higher learning in the form of subsidies.

“Let us not forget that LCUs and private HEIs are part of the same sector. And the competitiveness in the quality of education is also being contributed not only by SUCs but also by LCUs and private HEIs,” Arcega said.

The draft substitute bill is subject to amendment and style. It is set for discussion and approval before the mother committee ‪on May 28.‬ Read more: Congress (2020). Lawmakers push for Revised Higher Education Act. Press and Public Affairs Bureau. 22 May 2020 09:41:54 PM.