THE year 2018 was very productive in the field of education. It is a milestone of free and internationally recognized quality higher education in the country.
The increase in education budget at all levels was successfully sustained in 2018. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) optimized the utilization of the grant funds by revising the guidelines for Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) and the K-12 Transition Program grants.
In preparation for the first batch of K-12 graduates entering in college in June 2018, all higher education institutions (HEIs) are prepared in the revision of their General Education Curriculum (GEC). The trifocal agencies, composed of CHED, DepEd and TESDA, expanded and intensified programs that promote access to education at all levels through the Alternative Learning Systems (ALS), Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) and the full implementation of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST).
The trifocal agencies accelerated the implementation of the Philippine Qualification Framework (PQF) and aligned qualifications to the national framework and ASEAN Qualifications Referencing Framework (AQRF). The updating of CHED policies, standards and guidelines (PSGs) in various programs and college curricula were being audited and aligned to match the PQF qualification descriptors.
The 2018 QS World University Rankings evaluated and identified the top universities in the world. The rankings showed that four (4) of our universities in the country were included in the top universities in the world; the University of the Philippines Diliman (Rank #367), the Ateneo de Manila University (Rank #551-600), the De La Salle University (Rank #701-750), and the University of Sto. Tomas (Rank #801-1000).
Areas of evaluation used in the ranking were academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student ratio, international faculty, international student, and citations per faculty. On the other hand the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2018 listed the top 1,000 universities in the world. It is a global university performance table that judge research-intensive universities across their core missions in teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
The top 200 universities in the Philippines were identified in the Philippine University Ranking 2018 League Table. All autonomous schools in the Region were included in the list, while eight are CHEDs Centers of Excellence/Centers of Development (COEs/CODs) in various programs in the Region.
The academic year (AY) 2017-2018 ended with an advisory in line with the governments austerity program. The basic education graduation theme is Mag-aaral ng K to 12: Handa sa Hamon ng Buhay (K to 12 Learners: Ready to Face Lifes Challenges). This theme highlighted the role of K to 12 Basic Education Program in harnessing the skills and competencies of the Filipino learners to face lifes challenges.
The years graduation rites were a graduation ceremony for Grade 6 learners who completed elementary education and for the first batch of Grade 12 learners who completed the Senior High School (SHS) education. It is a moving up or completion ceremony for Kindergarten learners and for Grade 10 learners in the secondary level who completed Junior High School.
In the tertiary level, at least 46,000 college students in the Region marched for graduation. In year 2018, Business Education topped the number of graduates with around 13,022 (28%), followed by Teacher Education with 8,575 graduates (19%) and Information Technology with 4,522 graduates (10%). Agriculture and Fisheries with 2,044 graduates still in the bottom rank in the ranking of eight clusters of disciplines in the region.
(To be continued)