While SBN 489 filed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada purports to strengthen CHED, it is our contention that it actually weakens CHED. We explained this at the hearing. It compromises its qualification to preside over tertiary education in the Philippines. It removes the academic and experiential qualifications of the commissioners, and so disastrously removes the effective governance of tertiary education by peers so laudably provided by RA 7722. It provides for a bureaucratic type of governance under a powerful Director General or CEO, him-/herself governed by a weak “parttime” Board of “stakeholders” in tertiary education whose Chair is also “parttime.”
Most of those who came to the hearing agreed with this position.
While the CHED position articulated by Dr. Nap Imperial was obfuscated by the complexity of his expression and manifested conflicts, happily CHED Chair Dr. Patricia Licuanan herself defined the CHED position in a letter dated April 14, 2011 to Sen. Edgardo Angara, Chair of the Committee of Education, Arts and Culture. She stated: “…the Commission expresses its reservations in endorsing the proposal espoused in SBH 489 specifically the provision which amends the existing internal governance of the institution.”
Even as she stated this, Dr. Licuanan did express support for the President’s intention to re-engineer “the entire education sector in order to attune it to global standards.”
In this context, Dr. Licuanan listed five changes in the Powers and Functions of the Commission, which in my opinion do represent a genuine strengthening of the CHED. Personally, I would have no difficulty supporting them, and recommend that colleagues in tertiary education consider them as well for a strengthened CHED in the future. Dr. Licuanan states:
“On the Powers and Functions of the Commission, the following powers are recommended to be included and emphasized [in any reform of CHED]:
“Approved the changes in the institutional status of private universities and colleges and recommend to the legislature the creation, dissolution, and merger of state colleges and universities and other publicly funded tertiary institutions on the basis of national and sectoral development plans.
“Likewise, it shall have the exclusive authority to determine the minimum qualifications for faculty who can teach in higher education institutions.
“The Commission shall have the exclusive/sole authority to conduct visitations on higher education institutions (HEIs) for issuance of government authority to operated programs or courses for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
“Allocate and subdivide the total budget of state universities and colleges in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management and recommend general guidelines for the use of their income based on a normative and merit-based funding formula which shall be formulated by the Commission, provided further that the use of the internal and external sources of development financing shall be allocated on merit and equity grounds across regions and province, programs and institutions.
“Emphasize or reiterate its authority to regulate all academic programs of public higher education institutions i.e. State Universities and Colleges as well as Local Universities and Colleges including specialized colleges where necessary, in order to rationalize, effect and maintain compliance with the minimum standards and requirements of academic degrees” (Licuanan to Angara, 14.4.11)
Should the Joint Resolution of the House and the Senate to resurrect and Educational Commission II finally be passed, as participants in the Senate hearing urged, the new powers and functions for CHED, enumerated above, should be studied and incorporated in an overhauled CHED.