By Merlina Malipot
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will expand its comprehensive educational assessment program to provide more access to learners who were unable to complete their tertiary education.
CHED Officer-in-Charge Prospero De Vera III, in a recent press briefing, announced that the Commission is set to expand the implementation of the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation (ETEEAP) by adding more “delivering universities” or the higher education institutions (HEIs) that offer the program. “We have already instructed our offices to increase the access so all the geographic areas will have enough universities that will offer ETEEAP,” he said.
The ETEEAP, as defined by CHED, refers to “a comprehensive educational assessment program at the tertiary level that recognizes, accredits and gives equivalencies to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values gained by individuals from relevant work.” It is implemented through deputized HEIs that award the appropriate college degree.
“Basically, it is a program where students who did not finish their education or who left school for whatever purpose can go back and earn their degree not in the traditional residential mode but be given credits for their experience so they are able to go back and finish their degrees in selected universities,” De Vera explained.
De Vera noted high school graduates who have been unable to proceed to tertiary education or college students who stopped schooling collectively called “Lifelong Learners” may take the ETEEAP. “They don’t have to take all the subjects that are required…some of the subjects can be credited through an equivalency system of the things that they have done in their lives,” he said.
ETEEAP, De Vera explained, has different modes depending on the delivering HEI. “Some universities require them [students] to take some other residential courses [while] some universities allow them to do it online,” he said. Depending on the mode that the university offers, he noted that “learners can complete your university education and still continue with your work or your profession.”
Currently, De Vera said that there are 96 deputed HEIs that offer ETEEAP – of which, 71 are private universities and 25 are state universities. “We have graduated about 21,000 since the program started and this includes top universities in the country who are offering ETEEAP program,” he said. He then urged students or the ‘lifelong learners’ who are interested to complete their tertiary education “to go and inquire in any of these universities on how they implement their ETEEAP program.”
In the next coming months, De Vera said that CHED will start accepting applications from the universities in the “underserved” areas. “The priority will be the underserved and will include areas like the CARAGA where there are very few providers,” he said.
De Vera underscored the importance of expanding the ETEEAP delivering universities. “Even if you offer ETEEAP but the student is far from the university, then there’s no access so geographically, we are working on it,” he said. As it is, he noted that the distribution of HEIs that offer the ETEEAP tends to cater to Luzon and tends to have less number in Mindanao. “So we are going to even it out in the next couple of months,” he added.
Strengthening the implementation of the ETEEAP, De Vera said, is part of CHED’s mandate to provide access, equity and quality which are the three guiding principles in higher education. “We want to make sure that we expand particularly in Mindanao because there are certain regions where there are few providers,” he said. “We want to make sure that access to ETEAAP is assured for every Filipino who wants to complete their education that they stopped for different reasons,” he ended.
Beneficiaries of the ETEEAP, as per CHED, must be Filipinos who are at least high school graduates and must have worked for at least five years in the field or industry related to the academic program they are obtaining an equivalency. Applicants must also be able to “show proof of proficiency, capability and thorough knowledge in the field applied for equivalency.”