Press Release
October 2, 2009


In light of the recent Typhoon Ondoy, Senator Edgardo J. Angara secured the commitment of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to allocate a P1.316 billion endowment fund for scholarship programs and assistance for the typhoon victims and to repair damaged school infrastructure.

Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, also requested that CHED deploy student volunteers for relief assistance distribution and mobilize nurses and doctors for medical missions in the affected areas.

In the long term, Angara challenged CHED to improve the country's overall higher learning system through increased scholarships, faculty development, strengthened research and development and upgrade of facilities.

"The Philippines has dropped 16 notches in recent global competitiveness reports because of the weakness in our science, math and engineering curricula and the lack of skills on the part of teachers," lamented Angara, who is currently pursuing various bills to address the weak higher learning system in the country.

Angara said there are only 125 scientists and engineers for every 1 million Filipinos. He urged the CHED to "ensure that all higher education institutions in the country devote 5% of their budget to research and development. To keep our economy at par with the world's demands, we need more of the highly-skilled workers that the Philippines is known for."

"We need to invest in our teachers, especially those teaching Mathematics and Science because they are the heart of the education system. The continued improvement of our higher education is critical in a country like ours which exceeds the ideal student-teacher and student-classroom ratios," Angara said.

Statistics show that only 35% of the country's higher education faculty has a Masters degree, 10% with Doctorate and 55% without any. Angara lauded CHED's proposal to allocate funds for 4,000 Masters, 1,250 local PhD and 750 foreign PhD studies for teachers in higher learning institutions. CHED also mandated that by 2011 a Master's degree will be a minimum requirement for teachers in higher education.

Only 3% of the country's higher learning institutions own good facilities, and these are granted autonomous and deregulated status by CHED. Angara hopes CHED will be able to upgrade higher learning facilities to benefit 54 M teachers and 1 M students.

Angara assured the department that "CHED will be part of the investment and exchange agreements I am currently negotiating with investors and universities in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan." He also suggested that CHED develop a Knowledge Center for IT Learning and Technology Development in the country to augment Filipino students and workers' IT skills.

Angara, former president of the University of the Philippines, has authored laws that aim to innovate and improve the country's education system. Among them are the law that institutionalized TESDA and CHED, the Basic Education Teachers Compensation Act, the Board of Computer Education Act, the School Building Program Act, the Charter for Center for Education Technologies and the Expanded Voucher System in Secondary and Tertiary Education Act.

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