Powered by partypoker

CHED OIC De Vera talks about higher education in a federal Philippines

Published Date

Article by Karen S. Janiya

Commissioner J. Prospero E. De Vera III, officer-in-charge of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), spoke in a seminar on “Higher Education Challenges and Opportunities in a Federal Philippines” at the NCAS Auditorium, UPLB on March 12, 2018. The Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS) of CPAf, together with the UPLB Graduate School, organized the seminar.

Dr. De Vera explained the difference between unitary and federal systems of government. The Philippines is currently under a unitary system where the central government holds all powers. If the federal system will be adopted, the powers will be distributed or shared between the central and proposed state governments.

With regards to education system, among several options that the government can adopt under a federal government, Dr. De Vera highlighted two in his presentation. One is that all levels of education (from primary to tertiary levels) are under state control. The state governments will set the overall educational standards of the state colleges and universities (SUCs). This set up is responsive to local needs, but there will be no national standards.

The second option is that the states will become implementing units but all levels of public schools will still be governed by the central government. There will be standard curriculum across all states, but the gap between the proficient and slow learners should be addressed.

In the recent discussions on federalism, Dr. de Vera shared his observations: “Sometimes, we are committing the mistake of talking about the issues that may not be the most critical, and forget the issues that are most critical.” One of the key issues to be resolved in federalism is the division of powers and resources, who gets what and why.

The division of powers and resources is important to talk about because, as Dr. de Vera noted, the development pattern in the Philippines is very uneven across regions. If education system will be state-controlled, significant subsidies should be allotted from the federal government to the poorer states. There is a need to transfer resources from richer states to poorer states.

At present, only three states (National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON) in the Philippines can survive economically on its own, according to Dr. de Vera. “If the Philippine government just gives the power without additional resources, the federal state of Eastern Visayas and ARMM will fall behind…it requires huge resources to run the educational system,” he said.

Dr. De Vera opined that for higher education in a federal system is that the governance and day-to-day operations of SUCs should be given to the state and local governments. But the national standards and licensure exams should remain with the federal government. He also emphasized the critical role of SUCs in producing the manpower needed by their respective federal state. The SUCs have to redirect their expertise to what the region needs to contribute to its economic development.

The activity, which is part of the CSPPS Policy Seminar Series, was attended by UPLB officials, staff, and students; and several representatives from different higher education institutions and non-government organizations.

UP System | UP Baguio | UP Diliman | UP Manila | UP Mindanao | UP Open University | UP Visayas
Copyright © 2012 College of Public Affairs - University of the Philippines Los Baños.  All Rights Reserved.