Passed on 3rd reading: Local Universities and Colleges Governance Act

The proposed “Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) Governance Act”, which provides guidelines on the establishment of local colleges and the conversion of local colleges into universities, has been passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

(Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Embodied in House Bill (HB) No. 6630, the measure aims to achieve a standard and integrated system of higher education.

Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto, who presided over the plenary session Tuesday, Jan. 31, said that HB No.6630 received 271 "yes" votes during nominal voting. There were neither "no" votes nor abstentions.

The measure also seeks to provide the appropriate direction in LUCs’ governance and ensure that they will deliver quality and relevant education to students.

Under the bill, certain mandatory requirements for the establishment of LUCs are provided such as the conduct of a feasibility study that will look into the necessity for a local HEI (Higher Education Institution) in the area, the requirements of the industry to determine the proposed program offerings, target offerings, and financial capacity of the LGU.

Furthermore, HB No.6630 proposes the following requirements: a certification of availability of funds by the treasurer of the concerned LGU, a project development plan, and a five-year institutional development plan duly approved by the sanggunian.

In the interest of efficient control and supervision by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), all LUCs existing at the time of the effectivity of the measure shall be allowed to continue their operation, subject to compliance with the requirements within a non-extendible period of three years.

Non compliance with the requirements of this will result in the phase out of the programs being offered by the concerned LUCs.

The bill also requires that before a local HEI or "Dalubhasaan" be established and operated by an LGU, it must be enacted through an ordinance by the Sanggunian concerned.

Prior to the enactment of the said ordinance, the LGU establishing a local college must also consult with the CHED, through the regional office that has jurisdiction over the area where the institution is intended to be established, to ensure full compliance with the mandatory requirements set forth.

The governing board of a College or Dalubhasaan shall be its Board of Trustees (BOT), while the governing Board of a University or Pamantasan shall be its Board of Regents (BOR).

Section 14 of the bill also provides that a local college, upon the recommendation of the Board to the Sangguniang Bayan, or Sangguniang Panlungsod, or Sangguniang Panlalawigan, may subsequently apply with the CHEd for university status, subject to requirements and accreditation.