CHEd has enough powers to shut down substandard schools, says Valisno
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has enough powers in its mandate to crack down on inferior courses offered in colleges and universities, according to one of the agency’s original commissioners.
Mona Valisno, who served as managing commissioner of CHEd when this was spun off from the education department in 1994, said the agency could take a tougher stance against substandard college programs.
“CHEd has enough powers to do what it needs to do,” Valisno said in a recent interview.
While acknowledging that closure orders are not easy to implement, Valisno believes CHEd’s legal mandate backs up its efforts to weed out college offerings that do not meet quality standards set by CHEd.
She was referring to Republic Act 7722 or the Higher Education Act of 1994 which defined CHEd’s powers over all higher education institutions.
Its mandate includes granting incentives and imposing sanctions “such as the dimunition or withdrawal of subsidy, downgrading or withdrawal of accreditation, program termination or school closure.”
The law said CHEd would also “peform such other functions as may be necessary for its effective operations and for the continued enhancement, growth or development of higher education.”
“They have the mandate to close down (substandard programs). CHEd should not be afraid to force their closure when needed,” Valisno stressed.
“Why should they be afraid?” added Valisno, who as former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s adviser on education also briefly served as education secretary in the last few months of the Arroyo administration.
CHEd Chairperson Patricia Licuanan has told reporters before that they wanted CHEd to have more teeth to enforce its quality standards.
While it has issued some closure and phaseout orders on substandard programs particularly on nursing and maritime courses, CHEd has not publicized the names of the concerned schools except when the schools would reject the order.
CHEd has been sued by schools who insist on offering their inferior programs to students.
Recently, CHEd won its case before an appellate court against a maritime school that has defied an order two years ago to close down due to grossly inadequate training programs.
The Court of Appeals’ Special 13th Division last May 24 upheld CHEd’s closure order and overturned the order of a Quezon City trial court last January 2012 that stopped CHEd from closing down the Philippine Maritime Institute (PMI) Colleges.
CHEd had ordered PMI Colleges to discontinue its BS Marine Transportation and BS Marine Engineering courses in its Manila and Quezon City campuses.
But the school continued to accept maritime students after getting a preliminary injunction order from the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 105.
Licuanan stressed the importance of the Court of Appeals’ favorable ruling since the country’s maritime schools face a crucial inspection in October that would decide whether Filipino seafarers would continue to board European Union-flagged vessels.
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