MANILA – Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III received on Monday the Gawad Oblation award from the University of the Philippines (UP) for his contributions to the country’s higher education.
In a speech, UP president Angelo Jimenez honored de Vera’s exemplary performance which contributed to the improving higher education landscape.
“He has done more than increase the international prestige and recognition of UP, he has been helping increase the number of enrolled college students while raising standards and strengthening the partnership of higher education institutions as commissioner and chairperson of the Commission of Higher Education,” he said.
Among the cited contributions include the inclusion of 132 higher education institutions (HEIs) in world rankings, the increase of program compliance among state universities and colleges (SUCs) which grew to 3,430 programs, the conversion of 11 colleges to universities, and the increase of SUCs offering medical programs in the country, among others.
For his part, de Vera said the success of students coming from the marginalized sector is the real attestation of achievements in higher education.
“Their refusal to give up and the desire to give back to their families and community, these stories are true testaments to the success of free higher education and the reason why I remain committed to continue to fight for free higher education,” he said.
De Vera’s Gawad Oblation award, meanwhile, is the first award under Jimenez’s term.
It is a special award granted in recognition to alumni or partners who have given significant support to UP.
Improving school admission
De Vera, meanwhile, expressed support for improving the private-to-public school demographic of the UP through addressing challenges in admission.
In an earlier press briefing during the launching of Paglaum kag Pagdaug (Hope and Victory) research, de Vera said UP can partner with SUCs across the country to intensify initiatives in assessing admission and retention systems.
”UPCAT (UP college admission test) is a very difficult admission process and maybe we can learn a lot and hope that UP will start addressing admissions issues through this project,” he said.
Jimenez, however, noted that UP is now exploring ways to reverse the 60:40 private-public school demographic of UP and ensure student retention.
“We are coming out with experiments on how we can admit students na hindi pumasa ng (who did not pass the) UPCAT… We are planning to implement this, hopefully soon, na they can enter UP on an associate degree,” he said.
Within two years, subject students may either continue to regular courses once found qualified or finish with an associate degree.
Besides this, the UP is also intensifying its information drive in relation to UPCAT in remote areas in Mindanao. (PNA)