Ricafort assumes CHEd post as OIC

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — COMMISSIONER Nona Ricafort yesterday formally assumed as officer-in-charge of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) replacing Romulo Neri who was earlier appointed as new head of the Social Security System (SSS).

Ricafort took over from Neri following a simple turnover ceremony and farewell party for the latter held at the new CHEd building in UP Campus last Wednesday.

Ricafort said the turnover ceremony was held after Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita gave his go signal to push through with it with specific instruction that her appointment was for an OIC.

“Secretary Ermita told Neri to turn over to me the CHEd post as OIC,” Ricafort told reporters.

She, however, declined to comment on the supposed appointment of Commissioner Luningning Misuarez-Umar as acting chair of CHEd.

She, however, added that Umar would serve as “second in command” at CHEd in her absence or whenever she is not around of available.

In her speech, Ricafort acknowledged the enormous task in the higher education sector confronting CHEd such as the challenges of a global education as well as the UNESCO program promoting alternative learning system.

“To achieve these goals, it may be necessary to recast curricula, using new and appropriate methods, so as to go beyond cognitive mastery of disciplines,” Ricafort said, stressing that paradigm shift in higher education is necessary.

“Thus, in line with this call, we shall continue to ensure that the delivery of ladderized education programs and the ETEEAP will be further strengthened, not only so that the Filipinos dream for a college diploma will become a reality, but more so to provide the means to gain better employment and opportunities,” Ricafort added.

Likewise, Ricafort vowed to promote a better partnership with State universities and Colleges but free from the shackles of government bureaucratic provisions while forging a stronger relationships and partnership with private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as well as other stakeholders in higher education sector.

Umar, who was present during the turnover, declined to comment when reporters asked her on her supposed appointment.

She likewise refused to answer all issues raised against her including nepotism and accusation of graft and corrupt practices.

Published report said President Arroyo appointed Umar as acting chair of CHEd.