By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, sponsored on Tuesday Senate Bill No. 2492, under Committee Report No. 509, the “Revised Higher Education Act of 2022” to strengthen the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) through institutional reforms.
In his sponsorship speech, Villanueva said that the revised charter “strengthens the CHED by making it better prepared to take on the future of education and ensuring a well-prepared, well-equipped, and flexible graduates and lifelong learners.”
Since its creation in 1994 as part of the educational reforms of Congress, the CHED has been given additional mandates and functions and encountered several developments in higher education.
According to Villanueva, the new CHED Charter shall include all of the mandates that have been given the Commission over its almost 30 years of existence. The revised charter allows for an integrated and streamlined list of all of the commission’s functions, as well as creating provincial offices to carry out mandates and extend its services efficiently and expeditiously across island groups and in remote areas of the country.
Under the new charter, the CHED shall formulate a roadmap for higher education in the country, subject to periodic assessment and review every ten (10) years, to ensure the development of locally responsive,innovative, as well as globally competitive graduates.
The commission’s technical panels will be tasked under the new charter to set the direction for disciplinal and degree programs. The technical panels shall include industry representatives and representatives from organizations representing public and private higher education institutions.
The new CHED charter also mandates the agency to engage in active coordination with the Department of Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to ensure consistency in policy, plans, and programs for the entire education sector.
“By synchronizing each education subsector, we are ensuring a progressive and coherent development of the entire educational system,” Villanueva said.
As the former TESDA Director General, Villanueva called for a collaborative governance regime between the three agencies each representing an education subsector.
“The country’s ‘trifocalized’ education was not meant to establish a strict division of jurisdiction among the three education agencies – DepEd, CHED, and TESDA. The setup is meant to break silos instead of putting up walls. Our national vision and policy on education should be clearly reflected at every stage of learning, from primary to tertiary and postgraduate schooling, including technical-vocational courses,” Villanueva said.
In addition, the revised CHED charter guarantees for students, faculty, or any member of the academic community the practice of religious freedom in higher education institutions and their campuses. (ai/mtvn)