THE COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHEd) has expressed disappointment over Catholic schools’ opposition to an order requiring private universities to submit to a government-prescribed quality status.

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has cried foul over CHEd memorandum order (CMO) 46 last May, saying it was unfair to close private higher education institutions (HEIs) for substandard performance, but not public HEIs.

In a chance interview, CHEd Commissioner Patricia Licuanan said CMO 46 was a quality standard for higher education, describing it as “simple and rational.”

“I think they are making a mountain out of a mole hill. They are making something big that is not problematic. After all, CMO 46 is basically a very rational system,” Licuanan said.

CEAP is a non-stock, non-profit organization of Catholic educational institutions that recognizes religious instruction as an essential element of Catholic education. UST is among its 1,345 members.

‘Voluntary’

According to Licuanan, it would be up to HEIs to apply quality standards under CMO 46.

“It is voluntary. The school has the choice. There is no punishment for not joining. There are some incentives if you participate,” she said.

In a brief titled “Leveraging Human Resources for Development and International Competitiveness through Higher Education Reform,” CHEd emphasized that the process was “voluntary” and HEIs have until 2014 to “meet the standards for horizontal typology and vertical classification.”

Watered down

CMO 46, titled “Policy Standard to Enhance Quality Assurance (QA) in Philippine Higher Education through and Outcomes-based and Typology-based QA,” went through a series of consultations and revisions before the release of the final version, which was totally different from the first draft.

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“For two years, we were going through consultations. The first version was so different from the present version because we listen to people,” Licuanan said.

“[It is] very sad and very disappointing and it is a little bit distracting for us because they (CEAP) are a big group, they keep writing us. I am sad because I came from that association,” she added.

Despite CEAP’s opposition to CMO 46, Licuanan was optimistic on the cooperation of HEIs.

“Privately, a lot of the members are for us. We have been told,” she said.

CHEd Commissioner Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista said CMO 46 was “strategically made,” although the standards could not be applied to all universities and colleges due to certain academic differences.

“CMO 46 is a CMO on quality education that has three parts. One part is that we should not have a one-size-fits-all standard for everyone. But right now, everyone is expected to [follow] the university standards that were watered down,” Bautista said.

The order, which is expected to be fully implemented in 2014, aims to produce high-quality graduates through a system of quality assurance, which is “an ongoing process of evaluating and enhancing the quality of higher education system, institution, or program.” Lord Bien G. Lelay

1 COMMENT

  1. Why are government schools who don’t perform well not subject to closure if private schools who performed poorly are recommended for closure? This is double-standard and discrimination. All poor-performing institutions should be closed and not just poor-performing private schools. I can’t seem to find the logic why they would not recommend ALL poor performing schools public and private alike

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