By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As it joins other national government agencies in celebrating this year’s National Women’s Month, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is scheduling activities as part of the its 2018 Gender and Development Plan.
Carrying the theme “We Make Change Work for Women,” CHED’s Gender and Development (GAD) office will kick off its year-long paralegal training for public and private higher education institutions, and training in counseling for sexual harassment cases and the Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI). This is the Commission’s nod to the global anti-sexual harassment movements #OneBillionRising, #MeToo, and #TimesUp.
Meanwhile, CHED employees, including officials, directors and new appointees, will also undergo “Interactive and Experimental Learning on Gender Sensitivity” training to develop their capacity in terms of Gender Consciousness and equip them with GAD skills.
Critically acclaimed films tackling human abuses, including Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil’s Cinemalaya 2008 entry “Boses,” will be showcased at the CHED auditorium.
As part of the Commission’s effort to push for broader access to Higher Education, especially among women, the CHED-Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Secretariat launched the Nationwide Information Caravan for Republic Act 10931 or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is one of the line agencies invited to set up a booth during each caravan’s Education Fair in every leg of the caravan to promote mainstreaming GAD in higher education.
From November 27 to 29, the CHED also spearheaded the “Conference on Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education in ASEAN” in celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN Summit and related meetings.
Higher education officials and members of the academe from the 10 ASEAN member-states attended the conference and discussed the challenges of integrating gender equality in higher education. As a result, the outcome documents produced during the three-day affair was the ASEAN Unity Statement and ASEAN GAD Action Plan 2018-2020.
Since 2010, CHED has been pushing for the agenda to mainstream gender and development in higher education through its annual Higher Education Summits on Gender Issues conducted in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The most notable output is the CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 01, series of 2015 entitled “Establishing the Policies and Guidelines on GAD in CHED and HEIs.” CHED has also been strengthening the GAD Focal Points in the Commission’s Central and Regional Offices, as well as institutionalizing the Technical Panel on GAD in CHED and the Higher Education Institution system.