As many already know, we are expressing reservations relative to CHED’s proposed Output- and Typology-Based Quality Assurance mechanism. The reservations are in the area of CHED’s requirements for their “university type.” In the context of the development of universities in the Philippines, I consider these requirements much too narrow. Why only one, static set of criteria when universities have evolved in this country?
Be that as it may, what may be of much more relevance and challenge to our university is the stress CHED is now placing on output-based quality assurance.
If we are a higher educational institution in the Philippines “engaged in excellent instruction and formation” preparing students “to benefit from, contribute to and engage the global world” (M-V Statement), how do we know that we are doing this on the basis of outcomes that are normally observable, if not measurable?
The academic and professional disciplines would have to demonstrate the quality of instruction normally in terms of exams taken and passed – some of which involve stringent, externally–run, professionally-regulated exams. Each of the ADDU schools or colleges would have to have a method of assuring, perceiving and measuring appropriate outputs. If they don’t yet have these, it is imperative that they generate these soonest.
What I think should concern us even more is the development of a set of outside-the-classroom criteria where we might recognize, measure, evaluate and improve output in areas that are normally not measured by our testing systems yet dear to us participating in a Jesuit, Catholic and Filipino university. Some of these areas would be: wisdom, eloquence, character, the ability to think, the ability to lead, the ability to be a man or woman “for others.”
Wisdom may include understanding one’s vocation in life, embracing it, allowing it to form one’s life choices. It may also mean having taken personal position relative to one’s religion, one’s philosophy, one’s own set of reflected values, one’s career, friendship, and love.
Eloquence may be demonstrated through enlightened participation on public discussion, public debates, and the ability to hold and sustain and intelligent conversation in Pilipino and English.
The ability to think may be demonstrated in the ability to critically evaluate current events, cultural and religious issues, to argue logically, to found personal opinion on objective data.
The ability to lead may be demonstrated through leadership in the Samahan, in extra- or co-curricular activities, in sports. But the university mission statement is much more demanding. “The Ateneo de Davao excels in the formation of leaders for the Philippine Church and society, especially for Mindanao.” Leadership in the many issues listed by the ADDU Mission statement, among them, social justice, gender equality, good governance, the creation of wealth and its equitable distribution, environmental protection, the preservation of bio-diversity, and the promotion of renewable energy
Being a man- or woman-for-others may be demonstrated in one’s participation in outreach activities, in responses to the ignorance, hardship or poverty of others.
Developing an outcomes-conscious, outcomes sensitive culture at the Ateneo de Davao seems to be the way to go – whether CHED is demanding this or not. We have to be able to assure ourselves that we are doing what we say we do. This includes all we say we are and do in our Vision-Mission statement.
I encourage the heads of the units, schools and colleges to reflect on this matter. As has been suggested by Dr. Rey Vea of Mapua, the outcomes-based orientation may push us in a more efficient type of cura personalis, where each student will have a special file to document his/her progress in education and formation., and each student will be followed and advised based on the information in this file. We need to assure ourselves that even beyond measured academic outputs, we are also delivering what we must in terms of sapientia, eloquentia, the power to think, and leadership.