Towards a COCOPEA Roadmap for Philippine Higher Education

[The following are proposed talking points towards a Roadmap for Philippine Higher Education. They have been occasioned by the “COCOPEA Roadmap for Tertiary Education 2015-2020” submitted by Dr. Don Brodeth to the Board of the COCOPEA on November 25, 2015.]

We are talking about a COCOPEA Roadmap for Higher Education, not basic education. Senior High School belongs to basic education. In this roadmap, which is of urgent necessity, we must focus on specifically higher educational concerns: academic freedom, [HE] quality, essential complementarity between public and private HEIs, healthy governance of [higher] educational institutions and reasonable regulation, and content that COCOPEA might agree belongs in Philippine higher education (personal development, social justice and the common good).

Presuming our higher education framework, the COCOPEA Vision-Mission is the better basis for “where the road would lead us” rather than the PBED Principles, with its apparent bias for industry and the economy. Our ultimate goal may be: a “complete, adequate and integrated system of quality higher education” for ALL in the Philippines composed of public (SUCs, LCUs, academic and technical) and private HEIs (sectarian and non-sectarian, academic and technical) working in necessary and achieved complementarity in the pursuit and communication of truth in academic freedom through instruction (and formation), research and outreach (service to the community), where this system is governed autonomously (free from ephemeral [party] political interference, the control of stakeholder interests, the control of the economic elite) and supported appropriately by public funds and reasonable government regulation.

It is not reasonable to think that this can be achieved in five years. If not, how much time is necessary? What are the goals that must be achieved, when?

“The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments” (1987 Constitution, sec 20, art II). This is also true in education. It is necessary to evidence and advocate the “indispensable role of the private sector in national development” pertinent to schools. In all educational legislation, this principle must be heeded.

Academic Freedom

  • Freedom in academe necessary to pursue and communicate truth, to determine who may be taught, who teaches, what must be taught, how it is to be taught.
  • Recover a sense of “higher education” based on academic freedom for the HEIs.
  • Academic freedom is lodged in the HEIs, public and private, not in CHED.
  • Regain the initiative of HEIs for generation of HE programs, esp. in private HEIs
  • Undo paralyzing governmental regulation of programs (encourage innovativeness)
  • Programs (humanizing and professional)
  • Calibrate participation of private educators in State regulation activities towards the protection and promotion of appropriate private sector participation in Philippine education. (ie healthy private-public partnership)
  • Encourage and promote academic discussion, research and publication
  • Encourage and promote university engagement in the national issues.
  • Information to schools on market demands.

Quality education

  • National dialogue towards achieving consensus on “quality” in higher education. We advocate : minimum standards, academic excellence, implementation of HEI’s Vision and Mission, and stakeholders.
  • Academic freedom without quality assurance is reckless; quality assurance without academic freedom is empty.
  • Quality assurance equally applicable to private and public HEIs, including technical HEIs.
  • Private (non-government controlled) external quality assurance bodies as necessary for quality assurance
  • Clarify the role of stakeholder demands in HE programs (educators must educate…)

Essential Complementarity between public and private education

  • Studies on models of complementarity between public and private schools in the national and international arenas.
  • Advocate necessary public private partnership between public and private schools in the Philippines as mandated by the Constitution based on consensus on this in COCOPEA. (Should affect legislation and militate against such as uneven regulation of private schools and one-sided funding of public education)
  • Increased PPPs in favor of Private schools. (List projects…)
  • ESC for Tertiary Education (based on accessibility duty of the State). (If ESC necessary for free basic education for all, it is a fortiori necessary for accessible tertiary for all)
  • Equality of compensation between public and private school teachers for similar disciplines.
  • Equity in distribution of state-funded scholarships between private and private schools.
  • UNIFAST law…
  • Increased cooperation among private schools for research
  • Contracting of research projects of educational associations such as COCOPEA, CEAP, PACU, NABEi.
  • Contracting of research projects for individual HEIs.
  • Bias towards funding private HEIs and folding functions of SUCs and LCUs in private HEIs

Healthy governance of HEIs based on autonomous self-governance and supported by public funds and reasonable government regulation.

  •  Document areas of over-regulation. E.g. the requirements for Islamic Studies.
  • It is the HE community (the complete, adequate, and integrated system of HE) that governs itself. CHED supports and calls forth this self governance (actually the spirit of RA 7722). It promotes complementarity. It distributes state funds equitably according to evidenced quality or accessibility demands. CHED is not above the HE community. [Compare: in the Catholic Church, ministerial priesthood, Priesthood of the People of God.]
  • All universities whether public (organized directly by the State) or private (organized by the private sector in contribution to the work of the State) are created by law and subject to the governance of the HE community which CHED serves.
  • CHED confines itself in academic regulation to minimum standards for programs and institutions.* It sets them and enforces them. It encourages awards and celebrates programs for outstanding academic instruction, research, service to the community.
  • It shuts down programs or institutions that do not achieve or follow minimum standards, according to law.
  • Self governance – in academic freedom and quality assurance – by all HEIs, public and private. Autonomous schools and a Council of Distinguished Educators lead the self-governance according to functions and powers provided by law. CHED supports the self-governance.
  • Fosters dialogue and consensus building on shared governance policies.

Personal Development, Social Justice and the Common Good

  • National heritage. Asian identity.
  • Economic development: wealth creation and equitable distribution
  • Environmental conservation and protection
  • Personal development (self awareness, service to society, cultural sensitivity leadership)
  • Common good
  • —-resolving conflicts: economic development vs. environment; public good vs private good; private vs. public provision of goods and services, human rights vs peace and order
  • Religious inclusiveness and tolerance, no matter your religion (or lack of it)

Travelling the Roadmap

  • Necessary to gather and organize like minded people who will advocate implementation of this Roadmap.


*Cf: The Weak CHED and Academic Freedom:

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
This entry was posted in Personal Views, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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