The Senate approved on third and final reading Wednesday a bill declaring May 18 as National Higher Education Day.
Senate Bill No. 1216 was approved with 19 affirmative votes, zero negative vote, and no abstention.
The proposed declaration coincides with the founding anniversary of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which was created on May 18, 1994 through the passage of Republic Act No. 7722 or the Higher Education Act of 1994.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical, and Vocational Education and principal author of the bill, said the declaration will recognize the “critical role” of higher education in national development and in the advancement of society.
He said its passage was also timely as universities and colleges proved their contribution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our universities and colleges are well positioned to assist our communities and make impactful contributions. The passage of this measure is timely especially that the COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of our educational systems in history,” Villanueva said in a social media post.
“We need to bring the value of our universities and colleges to the forefront and help them redefine their mission, vision, and values to make them more responsive to the COVID-19 context,” he added.
The bill designates the CHED as the lead agency for the preparation and implementation of an annual program of activities and advocacy campaign for the observance of the National Higher Education Day.
Heads of government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and-controlled corporations, local government units, public and private educational institutions, employers in the private sector, and industry associations shall also encourage and afford sufficient time and opportunities for their students or employees to participate in any activity within the premises of their schools, offices, or establishments to celebrate the National Higher Education Day.
All higher education institutions shall also provide full support and assistance to the preparation of the annual program of activities and events to be conducted by CHED in observance of the event pursuant to the Act.