By Merlina Hernando Malipot
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Tuesday announced the possibility of moving the opening of classes of all State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and CHED-accredited Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) to the month of August.
CHED Officer-in-Charge Prospero De Vera III said that the Commission is eyeing the possibility of moving the academic calendar of public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to August should the cash-based budgeting system be strictly implemented.
De Vera noted that moving the academic calendar to August will help pave the way for the smooth implementation of the free higher education law or the Republic Act 10931 (Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act) – particularly when it comes to the reimbursement of funds to SUCs and LUCs.
In the cash-based budgeting system, agencies will be required to spend all their budget by the end of the year or in December. Unlike other agencies, De Vera noted SUCs and LUCs under CHED has two semesters.
Some public HEIs start their classes in the month of June until October of the current year and November to March next year or in some cases, December to April of the next year.
To address this, De Vera said that the “logical response is to change the academic calendar to August by 2020 so the budget works with the end of fiscal year” – which is December.
De Vera noted that CHED “cannot give the payment to SUCs automatically, they have to claim it from us.” This, he added, will also help ensure that “only real students benefit” from the RA 10931.
Since the academic calendar for this year has already started, De Vera said that moving the academic calendar to August is possible in two years’ time.