Tuesday, June 14, 2005

RTC freezes CHED order closing college courses

With graduates performing badly in board exams


DAGUPAN CITY — A court here has temporarily stopped the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) from implementing a resolution that orders the closure of courses in higher educational institutions, whose graduates have performed poorly in board examinations.

In a temporary restraining order (TRO), Judge Rolando Mislang of the Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) Branch 42 here also stopped CHED from issuing statement in the media "or any forum that is derogatory or damaging to the petitioner."

Mislang’s order stemmed from a petition filed by the University of Luzon (UL) here against CHED, which had written UL in April that it should phase out its BS chemical engineering and BS accountancy programs after only seven and eight percent, respectively, of its graduates from 1999-2003 passed the licensure examinations for these courses.

The CHED, in an en banc resolution issued on Sept. 29, 2004, set the cutoff passing rate at eight percent and approved the immediate phaseout of programs in higher educational institutions whose passing percentage in licensure examinations is eight percent or less.

"This is not just about UL," said Engineer MacArthur Samson, acting UL president and Metro Dagupan president of the Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (APSCU).

"The CHED order actually affected 1,600 private schools nationwide," he said.

In his petition, Samson stated that the CHED resolutions violated due process and equal protection of the law.

"The law that created CHED, RA 7722, requires that policies, standards, and requirements governing academic programs in higher institutions must go through a process of consultation," Samson said.

He said that the CHED resolutions are ineffective due to lack of publication.

"It is a settled rule that administrative rules and regulations which impose a sanction or penalty must pass the test of prior publication in a newspaper of general circulation before it becomes binding and effective," Samson said.

Lawyer Gonzalo Duque, president of Lyceum Northwestern University here, assailed CHED for "dictating on schools."

"They should all resign," Duque said.

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