CHEd launches review of SUC policies on student admission, retention
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Monday launched a review of policies on admission and retention of students in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
CHEd chairperson Prospero de Vera III said they decided to do the review after participation and attrition rates in SUCs posted increases.
“The participation rate in higher education has increased to over 40 percent, so clearly our public universities have been successful in increasing access,” he said in a press conference.
“But over the past years, we are concerned that while access is happening, equity is becoming a problem as more and more students take the admission tests in our public universities, the admission system becomes more and more competitive,” he added.
De Vera mentioned two prominent SUCs – University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines – which garner around 100,000 applicants yearly but only accept 14,500 and 12,000 students, respectively.
“We must be concerned that if our admission system is not examined, there is a possibility, as what happens in many countries all over the world, that those who are less prepared to go to university, those coming from public schools, those coming from rural areas, the children of indigenous communities, are going to get marginalized and they won’t be able to enter university so that’s the first concern that we have,” explained the CHEd chief.
“The other concern is that for those who come to university, the attrition rate is still very high, meaning we might be succeeding in bringing more young people into university, but many of them fall by the wayside and do not complete their education,” he also said.
Data from CHEd showed that the attrition rate has jumped to its highest level – 40.98 percent – in the School Year 2022-2023. This is the highest since 2019.
In the conduct of a review, CHEd partnered with Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Samar State University, and University of Southern Mindanao to determine the equity dimension of admissions and retentions in select SUCs in three regions, namely, Ilocos Region, Eastern Visayas, and Soccsksargen.
De Vera said that through the study, CHEd will find out the socioeconomic profiles of those who take the admission tests and those who get admitted.
“And if we find out that the admission system disproportionately disadvantages certain sectors, the study will now direct universities about the options they can take to improve their admission system,” he said.
“Once they get in, the study will find out what happens to those who are already in university, are our support systems in place, do they get the services that they need, do they drop out and fall by the wayside, and what can be done by universities to address this so that they can complete their education,” he added.
De Vera urged SUCs to participate in the review and provide their own strategies for intervention.