CHEd: Convert local universities, colleges

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — THE Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) batted for the conversion of local universities and colleges (LUCs) that proliferate across the country into community colleges and polytechnic schools.

CHEd chair Dr. Emmanuel “Manny” Angeles, said the proliferation of LUCs and is affecting the quality of higher education level in the country.

Angeles said majority of the LUCs are just duplicating the functions of state universities and colleges (SUCs).

He said the CHEd would push for such conversion following the justice department’s ruling that the commission has supervision and control powers over LUCs despite the autonomy granted to local government units under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

Under RA 7160, LGUs are empowered to open and operate colleges and universities through an ordinance to make education accessible to all.

The LGUs provide the minimum standards and guidelines for compliance for LGU-run schools in accordance with the declared state policies on higher education as well as the policies, standards and thrusts of the CHEd under RA No. 7722.

Angeles says they have a hard time keeping tab on their operation due to the LUCs autonomous setup.

“Our problem in upgrading the quality of higher education in the country is being compounded by the proliferation of LUCs,” Angeles said.

He said that CHEd have been swamp by complaints about the “erring LUCs that range from lack of adequate facilities like laboratory, library and other infrastructure, instructional materials, to low passing rates in licensure exams and qualified faculty.

Worse, Angeles disclosed that there are even school presidents who don’t have masteral or doctorate degrees in direct violation of existing rules and regulations governing higher education in the country.

“We have to look at the quality and the standards being offered by these schools,” Angeles said.

Under CHEd Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 32 s. 2006, local colleges should have an infrastructure, a laboratory facility, a library and a faculty armed with either masteral or doctorate degrees.

“I even received a complaint of a certain local college operating on top of a public market. Mind you, a college on top of a public market?” he added.

CHEd records showed that the number of LUCs has climbed steadily since school year 2001-2002 with 42 such institutions (44 in 2002-2003, 46 in 2003-2004, 50 in 2004-2005, 65 in 2005-2006, 70 in 2006-2007, 75 in 2007-2008) and at present, 77.