By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III directed the review and revision of some of the policies of the commission in order to keep pace with the recent changes and trends in higher education landscape.
“The Commission has been reviewing and changing a lot of policies in higher education,” said De Vera in an interview. “We finished changing the policies of technical panels, we’re reviewing the promotion policies in public universities, and now, the review for granting autonomous and deregulated status to universities and colleges,” he added.
De Vera said that the review and revision of the guidelines to grant autonomous and deregulated status to higher education institutions (HEIs) is part of the reforms being initiated within the Commission. Earlier, he issued CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 12 series of 2019 announcing the grant of autonomous status to 68 PHEIs and deregulated status to 16 PHEIs.
In the said CMO, De Vera said that the CHED “recognizes that the instrument in the evaluation of the grants should be reviewed in order to keep pace globally with the quality assurance and accreditation.” He added that subsequent grants of the Commission “shall be based on a revised instrument to be issued by CHED.”
De Vera noted that the said revision shall include – but not be limited to – criteria for institutional and program excellence; evaluation process and the validity of the period of the status; and point system and the operational definitions.
“Considering the current guidelines of the Commission and the need to revise the instrument, the validity of the autonomous and deregulated status granted to these HEIs shall be for a period of two years commencing from 01 June 2019 until 31 May 2021,” De Vera noted in the CMO.
Asked why there are shorter years of validity for the autonomous and deregulated status, De Vera said: “We gave it two years because we were reviewing the criteria and the evaluation for autonomous and deregulated and we made it shorter so that the criteria can be amended and we will do another evaluation.”
Some HEIs expressed their concern to the Manila Bulletin on the new development. Refusing to be named, officials of some HEIs who were recently given autonomous and deregulated status noted that the entire process of applying for the said status “is not very easy” – thus, a longer validity would definitely help them prepare for the renewal process. Prior to this, autonomous and deregulated status were valid for five years.
However, De Vera “sees no problem” with the review of the evaluation process. “Walang problema doon, I am sure that the good universities will qualify in the new criteria,” he added.
De Vera noted that the only reason why the validity of the autonomous and deregulated status was shortened was to ensure that the changes after the review will be implemented. “If we do it for five years, the terms of the Commissioners would have ended by then so we couldn’t do that and whatever it is that we’re doing right now can no longer be implemented,” he added.
Earlier, CHED granted autonomous status to 68 and deregulated status to 16 Private Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs) nationwide. In the CMO no. 46 s. 2012, CHED said that there are three types of HEIs: the Autonomous HEIs and Deregulated HEIs (by evaluation) and Regulated HEIs.
Autonomous HEIs are those that “demonstrate instructional quality and enhancement through internal QA systems, and demonstrate excellent program outcomes through a high proportion of accredited programs, the presence of centers of Excellence and/or Development, and/or international certification” while Deregulated HEIs are those that “demonstrate very good institutional quality and enhancement through internal QA systems, and demonstrate very good program outcomes through a good proportion of accredited programs, the presence of centers of Excellence and/or Development, and/or international certification.” Regulated HEIs, meanwhile, are those institutions “which still need to demonstrate good institutional quality and program outcomes.”
De Vera reminded that all PHEIs granted such status “are enjoined to comply with the conditions of the grant” as provided by the Commission and to “ensure compliance with existing CHED policies, standards and guidelines.”