MANILA, Philippines – A P7-billion increase has been proposed for the budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
The proposal of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is a 200-percent rise from its current appropriations amounting to P3.4 billion.
Based on the 2016 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the government has proposed a P10.533-billion budget for CHED, the highest during the administration of President Aquino.
The bulk of the increase will be used to finance projects in relation to the implementation of the K to 12 program, according to CHED.
Various sectors have raised concerns over the effects of the government’s flagship education reform program among college educators and non-teaching staff.
Latest data from CHED showed that 13,634 college teachers and 11,456 non-teaching staff may be displaced because of the additional two years in basic education.
The expected displacement is due to the significant decrease in enrolment during the transition period, as well as the proposed changes in the college curriculum as some of the general education subjects will already be taught in senior high school.
Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo has proposed a P29-billion Tertiary Transition Education Fund (TETF) for the next five years to provide academic personnel with opportunities for graduate studies, as well as investments in development of innovative curricula.
However, the bill might not be approved before the elections next year, Romulo said.
Due to the bill’s uncertain fate, an allocation in CHED’s budget will be included to ensure funds for those to be affected by the K to 12, according to Commissioner Cynthia Bautista.
Based on the NEP, an initial P3 billion from the Higher Education Development Fund will be allotted for the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
“The chairperson of CHED is authorized to allocate said amount in accordance with the Budget Priorities Framework,” read the NEP.
CHED has another P2.275 billion lodged in its built-in budget in case of deficiency.
This includes a P1.415-billion allotment under the line item “provision of scholarship to faculty members and HEI (higher education institutions) administrators.”
Outside of the proposed P10.533-billion budget, CHED can also tap another P3 billion from the NEP’s Unprogrammed Funds, under the support for infrastructure projects and social program item.
CHED still has to defend the proposed budget during budget deliberations in Congress, Bautista said.
The DBM has also included in this year’s budget a P1.763-billion allotment for the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI) project, a multi-billion international research program of the commission.
The reinstatement of the funding for PCARI, which has over P3.4 billion since 2013, happened after CHED was able to launch the project this year.
“PCARI is a capacity-building, technology-generating collaborative initiative designed to upgrade to global standards the research development and innovation capabilities and competencies of Philippine higher education institutions,” said CHED chairman Patricia Licuanan during the launch.
Eight projects, to be conducted by researchers from the California schools in partnership with those from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University, were initially approved for implementation.
Source: The Philippine Star