[Address to ADD-ALL – CHED Conference Towards and Institutional Agenda for Sustainable Adult Education Programs, ADDU, 1.9.19]
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Calungsod-San Vitores Center of the Ateneo de Davao. This is a facility which the ADDU uses to host important conversations or pakighinabi of national concern between the university and its stakeholders. Recently, the Bishops-Ulama held its 45th Annual Convention here, followed by a Summit of Catholic Church Leaders in Mindanao, Bishops, School heads, and Peace Leaders to work out the Catholic Church’s response to the Organic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
Certainly, adult education is a topic of national concern. So today I am privileged to welcome you on behalf of the Ateneo de Davao University and particularly of its Ateneo de Davao Academy of Lifelong Learning (ADD-ALL) to this second in-country phase of training in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education towards the development of an “Institutional Agenda for Sustainable Adult Education Programs.” The first out-of-country phase was held in Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Bureau of International Education.
In this context I welcome all of the participants from various HEIs, public and private, but most especially the Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education himself, Dr. Prospero de Vera. I also welcome CHED Commission Perfecto Alibin, the longtime CHED director of Region XI, Dr. Raul Alvarez, who shall be replaced tomorrow by the CHED director-designate of Region XI, Dr. Maricar Casqueho. I welcome Atty. Lilly Freida Millia, CHED’s point person internationalization and adult education programs, and Mr. Rudy Sabas, the point person of the Canadian Bureau of International Education for the Philippines.
The development of the ADD-ALL was based on a few simple insights:
That adult learning can be fun.
That adult learning can help adults take advantage of the changing environment of economic and social needs to optimize their contribution to society and guarantee sustaining rewards.
That adult learning can provide an important and inviting framework of providing adults with additional academic degrees through credits that are stacked as well as with continuing professional development.
That adult learning can create a community of adult learners truly interested in learning more and doing more – that can contribute powerfully to the implementation of the mission and vision of the university.
That adult education programs can take advantage of the knowledge and experience of alumni/ae for faculty even though they may not have higher academic degrees.
That adult learning can be a source of new income for the HEI’s faculty as well as for the HEI itself.
The development of adult education programs proceeds necessarily from the HEIs understanding their particular local market and the social needs of their stakeholders and responding to these. While adult education programs can learn from each other, every adult learning program will have its own distinct character that will resist a one-size-fits-all national program of adult education.
In this context I believe that the challenge of adult education is a huge opportunity for HEIs in the Philippines to exercise their academic freedom and academic innovativeness in implementation of their respective visions and missions, and an area where CHED ought act less as a regulator and more as an institutional inspirer and enabler, providing incentives for creativity and performance. What it has done in collaboration with the Canadian Bureau of International Education has already been a huge empowering initiative. Today, CHED can do much more in the direction of insuring that regulative structures support adult education and by facilitating the process with the Professional Regulation Commission through which adult education programs can be credited with Continuing Professional Development units.
In time, the HEIs offering adult education will in academic freedom develop their own system of quality assurance.
Once again, welcome all to this conference towards developing an “Institutional Agenda for Sustainable Adult Education Programs.” May it be a fruitful experience for us all!