In the 2017 QS Showcase Asia Country Features, UST’s Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Clarita D. Carillo, PhD presented the case of higher education in the Philippines, labeling it as “in transition.”

Local and global

Carillo said that all 1,935 higher education institutions (HEIs) are undergoing transition brought about not just by local reforms such as the K-12 transition, but because of increased and changing global demands, such as the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework and the need to be competitive and align in time for mutual recognition agreements in different disciplines.

Addressing challenges

The Commission on Higher Education’s four key tactical points were highlighted in Carillo’s article. She noted that CHEd is now 1) expanding access to quality education through scholarships, regulation of tuition and other fees, upgrading of facilities, and availability of equivalency, ladderized, and distance programmes; 2) enhancing student and faculty competence through emphasis on outcomes- and competency-based education, strengthening of academe-industry partnerships, and availability of grants; 3) promoting excellence through the exercise of regulatory and supervisory functions to close substandard programmes, recognition of centers of excellence and development, and capacity-building for research; and 4) upholding ethical and innovative governance by institutionalizng the CHEd Strategic Performance Management System and applying anti-corruption mechanisms, among others.

Walking in-step

A private university’s perspective was likewise presented, with UST as the case in point. Carillo explained how UST balances access and quality, by providing quality Catholic education at a tuition fee rate that is reasonable and accessible for students from different socio-economic statuses. She noted, too, how UST remains a school of choice in the country, with 40,000 students applying every year, and only a 25% intake for freshmen.

UST’s numerous recognitions, such as the CHEd Centers of Excellence (13) and Centers of Development (11), CHED Autonomous Status, QS 4 Stars, and FAAP Institutional Accreditation, were enumerated as “quality badges…achieved through unyielding efforts over the years.”

Carillo noted in closing that “in its own capacity as a private university, UST supports the national agenda for educational reforms in higher education in the Philippines and commits to walk in-step with CHED and the rest of the Philippine HEIs in transitioning toward heightened excellence and relevance, consistent with regional and global competitiveness.”

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