The chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education urged the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) and for each state university and college to become institutions of quality.
Speaking before the 2023 Annual PASUC Convention held at the SMX Convention Center, Rep. Mark Go said that the road is indeed long but for as long as the institutions continue to make progress no matter how slow or steady, they are steps better than they were before and that they should continue to make strides to make improvement.
He claimed that amidst the efforts of the stakeholders to battle the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic that have gone beyond public health, the country’s education sector was heavily battered then as the schools, especially the state universities and colleges, have to drastically adjust with a new learning modality, all while dealing with long outstanding systemic problems on the lack of resources to do so.
The lawmaker said that the difficulties in having to deal with the bureaucracy, alongside joggling other conditions such as the lack of gadgets and infrastructure for both faculty and students compounded by rising economic constraints certainly took its toll.
“We have since picked up on our attempt to return to a semblance of normalcy although there is no going back in the time before the pandemic. Instead, we navigate a post-pandemic world acknowledging the myriad of ways it has changed our lives while remembering that the road is long and we cannot remain short sighted in our struggle in uplifting Philippine education. We cannot lose sight of the bigger picture,” Go stressed.
He said that there is no denying the intrinsic link of education as it remains the great equalizer of Filipinos of all backgrounds and afford the less privileged youth the chance to rise above the circumstances and achieve success and achievement in their lifetime.
The legislator expressed his gratitude to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for implementing the free higher education pogrom that allowed more than two million youth to avail of this right that paved the way for them to acquire higher education and lessen the burden of tuition fees from their families.
According to him, quality education is a fundamental right that must be accessible to all rather than a privilege bestowed to a select few.
With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution and seeing it unfold through the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence, Go underscored that it becomes more urgent than ever before to equip the students with 21st century ready skills amidst a curriculum that equips them for the realities of the ever-changing future.
He emphasized the importance of the House committee on higher and technical education working closely with the stakeholders such as PASUC to be able to get the real situation on the ground for the concerned agencies to be able to forward lasting solutions to the problems of the Philippine education system.
He stipulated that the cooperation of stakeholders has bore fruit that shaped the legislative measures now pending deliberation in Congress to effectively address the gaps of the country’s education.
Based on the consultations with stakeholders, Go authored a bill that seeks to create a tripartite council with representatives from the academe, the industry sector and the government to formulate policies and programs to bridge industry demands and school curricula. The multi-sectoral council will ensure open and fruitful cooperation that will guarantee that each sector will be represented as sectors strive to solve the jobs-skills mismatch program and assure equal opportunities for the graduates. The bill has already been approved by the Senate committee on higher and technical education.
The legislator also fielded House Bill (HB) 8559 that seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) 7836 or the Teachers Professionalization Act of 1994 which proposes to widen the nomination for the members of the Board of Professional Teachers by including the Teachers Education Council, the Department of Education-accredited Association of Private Schools and School Administrators and the Commission on Higher Education in the selection of nominees in addition to the accredited association of teachers. The bill provides for the issuance of appropriate rules by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) that will govern the practice of the members of the Board to avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of licensure examinations and the release of results.
Also included in the bill is the recognition of the probational employment of a teacher as an exception of the requirement of professional license in the practice of teaching subject to certain conditions. The bill likewise proposes additional academic qualifications for applicants who will take the licensure examination for teachers and the requirement for a refresher course for those who have failed the licensure examination for three times.
The Baguio solon filed HB 8349 that seeks the representation of the non-academic and non-teaching personnel, through its association president or elected representative, in the Governing Board of state universities and colleges which amends RA 8292 otherwise known as the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997. The said bill has been approved on second reading by the House of Representatives and will be approved on third reading probably by next week.
He explained that the House committee also continues to spearhead EdCom 2, a Commission that is in charge of reviewing, assessing and evaluating the state of Philippine education, and recommending innovative and targeted policy reforms on education that will further ensure that safeguards are in place to uplift and maintain a high quality of education in the country.