By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero de Vera III emphasized the importance of adult education as part of “lifelong and life-wide personal development” which is currently being promoted under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In his plenary speech at the Education World Forum 2019 held in London, England recently, de Vera discussed the importance of Adult Education as part of the “Lifelong learning and life wide learning” panel with Germany Education Minister Alexander Lorz, Mexico Secretary of Education Esteban Barragan, and Qatar Foundation Chair Sheikha Hind Al Thani.
The Education World Forum is an annual global summit of education ministers organized to “bring government leaders, development partners and experts together to look at trends shaping education and gain valuable insights on how these changes will affect the future.”
The gathering of world education leaders included UK Secretary of State Damian Hinds, UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, UNESCO Assistant Director General Stefania Giannini, and ministers of education of the Philippines, Nicaragua, Kenya, Vietnam, Chile, Pakistan, Mexico, Germany, Azerbajian, Myanmar, Ukraine, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, El Salvador and Armenia as speakers.
More than 1,200 participants from 95 countries discussed global trends shaping education, education finance, improving access, artificial intelligence, ending violence in schools, tracking gains on the Social Development Goals, and lifelong learning.
De Vera stressed that the Duterte administration “has increased funding for higher education at levels that no administration has ever done in the past.” He noted that the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education law has benefitted some 1.3M students in public universities and more than 100,000 students in private universities.
Private universities like Ateneo de Davao and Miriam College, De Vera explained, are spearheading the Adult Education initiative by offering evening and weekend classes on cooking, bread and pastry production, food processing, excel for adults, accounting for non-accountants, how to use solar energy for your homes, and how to invest in the stock market. Other universities, he added, are offering teaching farmers and market vendors literacy and numeracy skills “so they can earn a living or not be exploited by traders because they are unable to read and write.”
De Vera stressed that the “high economic growth rate in the past years and increased revenues” from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law “have generated revenues for higher education. It is time to expand opportunities beyond universities into Adult Education so Filipinos will be able to re-skill, up-skill, or cross skill.”
The CHED sent officials from 30 universities to Canada last year to understand Adult Education programs and develop links with their counterparts. The 30 universities recently met with CHED in Davao City to discuss the Roadmap for Adult Education that will be implemented starting 2019.