Thursday, June 16, 2005

CHED supervision reverted to DepEd


President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has transferred back supervision and control of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to the Department of Education (DepEd) after 12 years of its independence, Education officials announced yesterday.

Under Executive Order 434, the President has delegated Education Secretary Florencio Abad to exercise policy oversight on the 12-year-old commission effective June 3, 2005.

Abad was not available for comment. But it was learned that he received the EO just before he left for Boston, USA last week.

DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesman Chito Gascon said in an interview that the order of the President was merely to "simplify the work of governance and organize the education quarters."

"Basically the aim of the President here is to synchronize and harmonize the programs of the government," Gascon said.

"We have yet to discuss with the CHED acting chairman about this development. But we will have to comply with the order of the President," he added.

According to him, he has met with CHED acting Chairman Dr. Carlito Puno late last week and assured to meet again and discuss the merging of DepEd and CHED when Abad arrives from his US trip on Saturday.

Asked to comment on the issue, Presidential Adviser for Education Dr. Mona Valisno said, "I have no comment regarding the EO."

However, a school authority who requested anonymity remarked that putting CHED under DepEd is a gross violation of the CHED Law.

The law contains several provisions among which is one that requires a doctoral degree for the head of the CHED. Abad, he said, has no doctorate degree.

Dr. Puno could not be reached as of yesterday.

CHED Deputy Executive Director Julito Vitriolo said that the move of the President clearly shows she has lost confidence with the way officials are handling the agency.

"It looks like the President has lost her trust and confidence with CHED due to the issues on the private schools," he said.

He, however, clarified that the issues were legitimate.

"It is a wake up call to the commissioner and the members of the CHED to meet the standards that will improve education," he said.

CHED is an independent body separate from the DepEd, and attached to the Office of the President.

It was created on May 18, 1994 under Republic Act 7722 with a mission to provide quality education to the citizens and make education accessible to all. CHED was initially supervised by the former Department of Education, Culture and Sports

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