House OKs expanded college equivalency, accreditation program bill

By Jose Cielito Reganit

September 18, 2023, 8:56 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on the third and final reading a bill seeking to institutionalize the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) that would allow undergraduate professionals to earn a bachelor's degree.

House Bill (HB) No. 9015, approved with 251 votes, institutionalizes an alternative college level education program which recognizes, accredits and grants equivalencies to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values gained from relevant work.

"The ETEEAP refers to the alternative education program in the Philippines that allows working professionals who were either unable to finish their college education or were completely unable to advance into college for different reasons, to earn a bachelor’s degree without going through the traditional schooling method," Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said in a statement.

"(The) institutionalization of ETEEAP give this laudable policy permanence, meaning more Filipino professionals will benefit from it in the coming years," he said.

The program is an equivalency and accreditation pathway for obtaining a college degree for senior high school graduates, post-secondary technical-vocational graduates, and college undergraduates who have become professionals with an aggregate of five or more years of work experience.

Under HB 9015, the knowledge, experiences, achievements and skills obtained by the undergraduates through their jobs shall be used to earn school credits that are then deducted from the total number of units or credits that they are required to earn before they graduate.

To qualify for the ETEEAP, the applicant must be a Filipino citizen, at least 23 years of age and with at least five years of work experience.

The applicant must also submit the following documentary requirements: duly-accomplished ETEEAP application form; certification of having passed the Accreditation and Equivalency Assessment conducted by the Department of Education; employment certificates; birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority; resume, curriculum vitae, or personal data sheet; service record or employment certificate signed by the employer; job description signed by the employer; and transcript of records.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall be the lead agency in the implementation of the provisions of this Act, and shall accredit colleges and universities that seek to offer the ETEEAP as part of their academic program.

In relation to ETEEAP, the CHED is also directed to discharge additional powers and functions, which include: the power to deputize higher education institutions (HEIs), which will conduct equivalency assessments, develop assessment instruments, provide academic supplementation or award degrees; safeguard the continuing integrity and quality measures of the ETEEAP by linking and cooperating with appropriate development and regulatory agencies and institutions; and update the Social Development Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority Board on the implementation of the program for policy coordination and monitoring purposes.

The CHED shall also set standard fees and other administrative charges for accreditation that will contribute to and be part of the Higher Education Development Fund; establish criteria, procedure and documentary requirements to ensure its integrity, quality and successful implementation; and monitor and evaluate deputized HEIs based on developed standardized tool.

To provide a broad-cased inter-agency consultation, the CHED shall convene an advisory body which shall be chaired by the CHED Chairperson, and the Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as vice chairperson.

Members of the advisory body shall be composed of the Undersecretaries of the DepEd, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Labor and Employment; NEDA secretary; Chairpersons of the Professional Regulatory Commission and National Youth Commission; and representatives of the private higher education, state colleges and universities, local universities and colleges, and business sector. (PNA)