RP university belt of Asia

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ZEROING in on national development as the ultimate goal of higher education, the Commission on Higher Education has been espousing cross-border education aimed at making the country the university belt of Asia.

“ This time we will aggressively promote state-owned colleges and universities for cross-border education, catering to South Koreans, Chinese and Indian students,’ said Carlito Puno, chairman of CHED. ‘‘Our main attraction is the relatively cheaper cost of education.’’

CHED and the Ministry of Education of China will be signing the mutual recognition agreement which will pave the way for Chinese students to study in the Philippines and the Filipino students to study in China.

“This is a momentous event in Philippine higher education where we can prop up our private higher education institutions by charging premium fees for foreign students who are expected to flock into the country and the advent of education tourism that can tremendously help our economy,” said Puno.

Puno called on colleges and universities to step up work on applied research to become competitive.

There are 1,400 private colleges and universities, 111 state universities and colleges and 50 local colleges and universities in the country.

The consultation tackled the issue on the suspension of the implementation of CHED Memorandum Order 14 Series of 2005 that put a cap on tuition increase along with the safety nets for the students who will be adversely affected.

CHED has presented to the heads of the different HEIs the programs of the commission such as faculty development, research trusts and development, scholarship and financial assistance for students and special student development programs. The consultation also called for the heads of HEIs to make the academe as incubator of national peace and unity and reposition the education sector in complementing the economic achievements of the government.

“CHED should be sensitive and responsive to the issues, concerns and problems of the higher education institutions to ensure relevance and effectiveness in fulfilling the mandate of the commission,” said Puno.

“It is very important to listen to our constituency to attune our policies and programs to the needs and demands of our constituency in higher education.”

Puno is the first chairman of the Commission on Higher Education to admit that the quality of higher education in the Philippines is on the decline. “Accepting the painful truth of where we are in terms of our higher education is an important requisite of finding a collective rational and efficacious action to upgrade the quality of education in the country.’’