Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic of the Philippines 2001 - 2010



In the 21st century, education has become a basic necessity, essential in gaining knowledge and ensuring the survival of a nation. The global market changes have not only heightened the demand for skills-based labor but also sharpened national and international standards of degree-earned professions. These, however have posed some serious and critical challenges to the Philippine workforce and most importantly to higher education. The country has continuously faced the challenges of reforming the higher education sector. The Arroyo administration, for the past nine (9) years (from 2001-2009) has thus implemented programs and projects and mechanisms to mitigate the issues and concerns that higher education constantly faced.

At present, Philippine higher education is characterized by the following:

  • Composed of 1,758 higher education institutions, of which there are 88.2% private institutions, 109 state universities and colleges, 81 local colleges and universities, and 16 specialized institutions and/or CHED supervised schools.
  • These HEIs serve more than 2.6 million higher education students and produce more than 450,000 graduates each year. For Academic Year 2008/09, the total enrollment in various academic programs reached 2,625,385. The private HEIs served 63% of the higher education enrollment while the rest (37%) is absorbed by the SUCs, LUCs, other government schools and special HEIs
  • For the past nine (9) years, the Philippine higher education sector has an average program offering of 22,947 programs per year or an average increase of 3.2% per year.
  • Higher education enrollment in 2008/09 across all programs in private sector accounted for 63% of the total Higher Education enrolment. This shows a significant decline in private sector share, which was 68% in 2000-2001
  • The CHED Budget has average of PhP1.1 billion each year of an average decrease of -0.1% for the last 8 years.
  • In 2009 only 19% of HEIs have accredited programs and only 8% of the total 22,947 program offerings are accredited. In 2000-2001, only 11.6% of HEIs had accredited programs.
  • Graduates' performance in licensure examinations administered by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has 808,884 passers (36.35%) out of the total 2.225 million takers in various fields for the past eight years. Across all programs, performance in 2008 was 38.67% passing, slightly higher than the 37.23% passing in 2000.
  • In 2009 tertiary faculty population totals 129,979. Data show that majority or 72,153 (55%) of those who teach have bachelor's degree, 35% have master's degree (45,156) and 10% (12,670) have doctorate degree. These figures show some improvement over the 2000-2001 figures of 26.14% with masters and 8.28% with PhD.
  • The CHED budget in FY 2001 was the highest approved budget for the agency which amounts to PhP1.8 Billion while much of it was allocated for Personnel Services (PS) since CHED Supervised Institutions (CSI) were still attached to CHED for the salaries of its personnel until they were integrated to their corresponding SUCs in 2002. From 2002 onwards, CHED budget steadily increased with most of its allocations devoted for Maintenance and other Operating Expenses (MOOE). With the appointment of Chairman Angeles in 2008, CHED has recorded its highest approved budget amounting to P1.7 billion of which more than three-fourths (3/4) of the budget is allocated for MOOE.
  • Both SUCs and private HEIs have benefited from the financial assistance given by CHED through the Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF). Special programs of CHED qualify both SUCs and private HEIs based on standards set by the Commission. However, it is worthy to note that almost half of the whole budget is allotted for scholarships with 49% (P4.1B). On the other hand, facilities upgrading is allotted 23% (P1.413B), quality assurance 15% (P0.967B), faculty development 9% (P0.582B), and research and development 4% (P0.216B). Allocation for Operations is almost at 0% (P0.031B).
  • Public HEIs have lower cost with an average of PhP29,238.00 for each year while student cost in private HEIs varies across HEIs and regions.
  • On scholarships, 400,000 students were awarded scholarships with a total funding of over P4.1 million from AY 2001/0202-2008/09 which is two percent of the targeted 10% student population to be given a scholarship slot.

4.2. Reforms in Higher Education for the Past Eight Years

Having recognized the need to constantly be at par with world standards, the Arroyo administration, since 2001, has aggressively implemented the needed reforms as prescribed by the EDCOM and PCER reports. The Arroyo administration, through the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), has accomplished the following:

4.2.1. On Quality and Excellence

1) Curricular Reforms -Since 2001, a total of 61 policies, standards and guidelines (PSGs) of curricular programs in various fields were issued by CHED.

• The chairs and members of the different Technical Panels (TPs) have been reconstituted in March 2010. The TPs are currently working on the revision and enhancement of the different higher education programs in order to comply with international standards, e.g. the Bologna Process.

2) Faculty Development Program - In 2004 to 2009, a total of 3,128 faculty were supported through the Faculty Development Program and the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Science and Engineering Graduate Scholarship (PGMASEG). The average budget per faculty spent is Php344,089.00 with a total amount of Php1,16B for the 3,128 faculty.

• The quality of education depends largely on the qualifications and competencies of the faculty. In view of the faculty's vital role in influencing education outcomes, CHED requires that teachers at tertiary level must have at least Master's degree in the fields in which they teach.

3) Institutional Development Assistance for Accreditation (IDAA) and Preliminary Survey Assistance for Accreditation (PSAA) - With a the amount of PhP39,339,460, a total of 194 higher education institutions were supported by CHED in the accreditation of programs since 2007 through the Institutional Development Assistance for Accreditation (IDAA) and Preliminary Survey Assistance for Accreditation (PSAA)

4) Identification and provision of Support to Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development - A total of 275 COEs and CODs in the different disciplines were identified in 2001 to 2006. Grants to COEs/CODs totaled PhP413.23M.

5) Quality Assurance - For 2001-2010, initiatives on Quality Assurance include among others the following:

  • 72 COEs and 122 CODs in the different disciplines were identified (2007–2010)
  • 45 private HEIs were granted autonomous status and 14 private HEIs with deregulated status (2009-2010); in 2001 to 2008, 40 private HEIs were granted autonomous status while 39 deregulated status
  • Evaluated 51 HEIs thru IQuAME; 14 HEIs categorized IQuAME – Mature Teaching HEIs
  • Provided financial assistance to HEIs for the accreditation of 2,472 higher education programs or 8.4% of the higher education programs offered by HEIs

4.2.2. Access and Equity

(1) Student Scholarships, Student Loans and Grants-in-aid - The Commission has granted scholarships to 636,581 college students with a total funding of P6.5 billion through the different student financial assistance programs (STUFAPs).

The other program that provides access to higher education that is worth mentioning is the government partial subsidy through the college students enrolled in the 109 state universities and colleges (SUCs). A total of 820,725 students or 31% of the total higher education population in AY 2008/09 enrolled in SUCs with a total budget of P19.7 billion. The table on "SUCs enrollment …" shows the number of students enrolled in SUCs and its corresponding budget by academic year.

SUCs enrollment and budget by academic year

2) Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) - As of today, there are 88 (24 public and 64 private) deputized institutions that graduated a total of 6,220 students from various programs. The accreditation of 4,475 individuals working in different industries are on-going.

3) Ladderized Education Program -There are 544 (76 public and 468 private) institutions authorized to offer Ladderized programs. At present, partial enrollment in public institutions recorded a total of 41,851 students.

4) Tuition Fee Increase - Seventy-two (72) of the 272 higher education institutions withdrew application for tuition fee increase in School Year 2009-2010. There is a recorded decrease in the number of HEIs that applied for tuition fee increase in the last four years, from 472 (26% of total HEIs in Ay 2006/2007) to 149 (8.5% of total HEIs in 2009/2010).

4.2.3. Relevance and Responsiveness

(1) Employment Generation Projects - From 2005 to 2008, 146 SUCs have implemented employment-generating projects in line with their mandates. These projects have a budget allocation amounting to Php200.27M.

(2) Research and Development and Extension Programs - Establishment of 14 Zonal Research Centers nationwide and six (6) Program Cluster Implementors. These Centers also facilitated the training on research capability building to 302 institutions catering to 3,900 researchers, deans, faculty among others

  • From 2004 to 2009, a total of 81 recipients/ institutions received the recognition on "Republica Award" and "Best HEI Research Program Award. Recently, 16 institutions nationwide were awarded having the Best Extension Program.
  • 138 research projects of HEIs were supported.

Launching of the Regional University System and Complementation Project in Region XI - In October 2008, CHED in collaboration with the SUCs in Region XI, launched the Regional University System. The established system shall lead in the conduct of capacity-building activities and trainings for SUCs' administrators, faculty and other stakeholders. Since its operation, 30 representatives from different institutions from the region successfully finished the training on Regional Strategic Management and Curriculum Development.

(4) Mutual Recognition of Engineering Services - To date, 48 engineers have been registered in AERP.

(5) Establishment of a Management Information System - CHED in partnership with PRC have forged and effected a Memorandum of Agreement to facilitate the establishment of a unified educational data bank and publication of information on HEIs' performance in the different Board Licensure examinations.

(6) Facilities upgrading - CHED was able grant financial assistance to 247 HEIs: 115 SUCs and 132 private HEI to improve facilities specifically on upgrading IT equipment (hardware and software), books and E-learning materials, information systems development for SUCs and support for SUCs income-generating projects (IGP) with a total budget of 2.2B.

(7) Strengthening International Cooperation - CHED is currently pursuing strategies to strengthen the ties between the Philippines and other countries/economies. There is more emphasis on cooperation in the areas of faculty and student exchange, research capability building, curriculum development, credit transfers and recognition, promotion of intellectual property rights, quality assurance and areas to promote and strengthen higher education system in the country.

(8) Industry-Academe Linkages - CHED continuously collaborates with different industries to improve the student learning process through, but not limited to strengthening on-the-job services, curriculum development, and job placement

4.3. CHED Implementation of the Presidential Task Force on Education (PTFE) Recommendation for Higher Education sector

In accordance with the adopted Presidential Task Force on Education (PTFE) recommendations for the higher education under EO 781, series of 2009, the following were accomplished

1) The implementation of Curricular Reforms. The PTFE identified the need to improve the capability of HEIs, both public and privateer to equip students with the required skills and competencies for national development and prepare them for gainful employment or entrepreneurship.

2) As part of the needed curricular reform, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) through the establishment of the National Educational Evaluation and Testing System (NEETS) was initially developed in 2008 and will be piloted in AY 2010-2011.

3) Executive Development Program for university and college presidents and senior officials:

  • A total of 1,629 administrators (university and college presidents and administrators) completed training on Administrators' Executive Leadership Training Program to address institutional governance and management concerns
  • During the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2010, 30 presidents and vice presidents of SUCs, 40 deans from SUCs and 10 CHED officials have undergone the Executive Management Training; 48 SUCs Specialist Teachers trained on Mechatronics; 48 SUCs Specialist Teachers trained on Industrial Electronics, at Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore. Training and accommodation fees were
  • CHED and DAP have forged an Executive Development Program for SUCs presidents and senior officials dubbed as "Filipinos for Leadership and Management Excellence (FLAME) Elite and FLAME Regular. The program will commence in June 2010. The courses to be studied in FLAME Elite include Strategic Management, Infrastructure Management, Resource Management, Personal Efficacy, and Executive Leadership. Courses for FLAME Regular include Curriculum Development, Strategic Management, Research Management, Executive Leadership, Organizational Design, Strategic Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Entrepreneurship Development and Marketing Management
  • The Executive Development Program for the presidents and senior officials of private HEIs will be conducted by the Ateneo de Manila School of Government and University of the Philippines-Diliman.

4) The establishment of the Coordinating Council for Accreditation (CCA) pursuant to Executive Order 705-A, series of 2008 shall pave the way to the harmonization of standards and instruments for program accreditation.

5) As per the recommendation of PTFE, the CHED in coordination with NEDA is negotiating for a US$500 Million overseas development assistance (ODA) soft-loans from donor countries such as China, Korea, Japan and Australia for upgrading of facilities of HEIs.

6) The PTFE has pushed for more leveled playing field among SUCs, LCUs and private HEIs. Pursuant to RA 7722, all public and private HEIs are under the supervision and regulation of CHED.

  • The Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Local Government (DILG) and CHED was signed and the Department of Justice opinion having all local universities and colleges (LUCs) under the Commission. All LUCs intending to offer higher education programs must satisfy fully the policies, standards and guidelines (PSGs) and secure permit from CHED
  • In addition, the authority of the Commission over the state universities and colleges (SUCs) has been cleared and affirmed by the Department of Justice
  • The Manual of Regulation for Private Higher Education (MORPHE) is currently being revised to become Manual of Regulation for Higher Education Institutions which shall cover both public and private HEIs..

7) On Industry-Academe linkage, the PTFE recommended the active collaboration of CHED with the different industry to continue in pursuing activities that improve the learning process of students.

8) The Regional Association of HEIs (RAHEIs) and National Association of HEIs (NAHEIs) led to a more efficient and harmonized management and coordination among higher education institutions in the country. The RAHEI members are composed of presidents/heads of private HEIs, SUCs and LUCS.

• The first CHED National Games and CHED Academic and Cultural Festivals participated by SUCs, LUCs and private HEIs held during the first quarter of 2010 were a great success..

4.5. On the Internationalization of Education

4.5.1. Raising the Bar and Increasing the Dignity of Filipino Professionals

The President has likewise encouraged the initiatives of the Philippine Government and the Private Sector in raising the bar and increasing the dignity of Filipino Professionals by upskilling of professionals as a Philippine policy objective, upskilling of professionals in the domestic context, establishing comparability of educational attainments by arriving at core curricular content, benchmarking internationally, collaboratively developing region-wide examinations, and drawing on member countries collective expertise in this field (APEC, ASEAN, EU).

4.5.2. Breaking Walls and Building Bridges in Services Trade

The President acknowledges the Report of the Philippine Government that the European Union of 21 countries vis-à-vis the Philippines agreed among others to start a dialogue on matters of mutual interest to the modernization of education systems, including matters pertaining to core competencies and the development and benchmarking of assessment instruments.

"Higher education is no more a privilege of a few. Recognizing the outcomes of series of debates in higher education all over the world, higher education is considered as "a public good and a strategic imperative for all levels of education and the basis for research, innovation and creativity must be a matter of responsibility and economic support of the government." After all, every one should have equal access to higher education on the basis of merit."

"In this moment of economic downturn, there have been calls for governments to advance understanding on multifaceted issues that involve social, economic, scientific and cultural dimensions. Further, governments should lead in generating global knowledge to address global challenges, inter alia food security, climate change, water management, inter-cultural dialogue, renewable energy and public health."

- UNESCO, Paris 2009 World Conference on Higher Education (July 2009)