Higher education in the Philippines
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The higher education in the Philippines is offered through various degree programs (commonly known as courses in the Philippines) by a wide selection of colleges and universities—also known as higher education institutions (HEIs). These are administered and regulated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
- 1 Classification
- 2 Accreditation
- 3 Autonomy and Deregulation
- 4 Rankings and league tables
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Records from CHED showed that the country had 1,573 private and 607 public HEIs as of August 2010.
In the Philippines, college is a tertiary institution that typically offer a number of specialized courses in the sciences, liberal arts, or in specific professional areas, e.g. nursing, hotel and restaurant management and information technology. Meanwhile, to be classified as a university—such as state universities and colleges (SUCs), CHED-supervised higher education institutions (CHEIs), private higher education institutions (PHEIs) and community colleges (CCs)—it must meet the following requirements:
- operate at least eight different degree programs; including
- at least six undergraduate courses, specifically
- a four-year course in liberal arts,
- a four-year course in science and mathematics,
- a four-year course in the social sciences, and
- a minimum of three other active and recognized professional courses leading to government licensures; and
- at least two graduate-level courses leading to doctoral degrees.
- at least six undergraduate courses, specifically
Local universities have less stringent requirements than private HEIs. They are only required to operate at least five undergraduate programs—as opposed to eight for private universities—and two graduate-level programs.
Public tertiary education
State Universities and Colleges
SUCs are fully funded by the national government as determined by the Philippine Congress. The University of the Philippines, being the "national university", receives the biggest chunk of the budget among the 456 state colleges and universities. LCUs, on the other hand, are run by local government units next to Polytechnic University of the Philippines, the national comprehensive university.  The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila is first and largest among the LCUs. State Universities and Colleges (SUC) in the Philippines refers to any public institution of higher learning that was created by an Act passed by the Philippine Congress. These institutions are fully subsidized by the National Government, and may be considered as a corporate body.
Among the State Colleges and Universities in the country, the University of the Philippines has always been recognized as the nation's premier university and has likewise been strengthened by law (Republic Act 9500) as the "National University" of the Philippines.
SUCs lamented the Philippine government's inadequate financial aid. For the 2003-2004, SUCs only had PHP 16.8 billion, and about 40 percent of it went to the University of the Philippines and the Mindanao State University. However, in 2008, the Philippine Congress allotted PHP 20.8 billion in subsidy for the operations of state universities and colleges.
Collectively, SUCs have a student population of approximately 865,000, which means that every student is subsidized by an average of PHP 24,000 per school year. Each Filipino family contributes PHP 1,185 a year to run these schools through their tax payments. Of the total amount, PHP 15.4 billion for the salaries of faculty members and employees.
During the growth and restructuring of the state systems, names such as University of the Philippines have changed their meanings over time.
- In these five cases, the unqualified name has become the official name of the multi-campus system that includes the campus which is the original bearer of the name. Examples include:
- University of the Philippines - Its flagship campus in Diliman, Quezon City is better called U.P. Diliman, rather than U.P. The latter refers to the University of the Philippines System.
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines - Its main campus in Sta. Mesa is called A. Mabini Campus or simply Main.
- University of Rizal System - Its main campus in Tanay is better called URS-Tanay Main than simply URS.
- Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University - Its main campus in Bacnotan, La Union is better called DMMMSU-North La Union than simply DMMMSU.
- Technological University of the Philippines - Its main campus in Ermita is called TUPM.
- In other cases, the unqualified name remains the official name of an individual main campus which is now part of a larger system. Example include:
SUCs are confronted by similar problems such as poor education spending and annual budget cutbacks. As a result, these schools impose enrolment quotas and increase fees. In recent years, tuition rate and miscellaneous fees in the SUCs have seen the biggest increases.
In 2007, the University of the Philippines hiked its tuition by 300 percent, from PHP 300 to PHP 1,000 per unit, while Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology implemented a 600 percent tuition hike, from PHP 15 per unit to PHP 100 per unit, resulting in a 50 percent drop in enrollment. During the same period, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines was poised to increase its rate by 525 percent, but because of massive student demonstration the administration had to shelve the plan.
SUCs are also forced to accept only a limited number of students due to budget cuts. In 2007, some 66,000 high school graduates took the UPCAT but only around 12,000 were admitted. The same is true in PUP where only 10,000 to 13,000 are admitted from more than 50,000.
Only 10 percent of college students were in state-run schools in 1980, but this rose to 21 percent in 1994 and to almost 40 percent at present.
List of SUCs per Region
The SUCs are banded together in one organization called the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC). As of 2004, PASUC's membership comprises 111 SUCs and 11 satellite associations. There are 436 state universities and colleges in the Philippines (including satellite campuses).
Local Universities and Colleges
LCUs appeared to be having some political difficulties. On 1 March 2011, the education committee of the Philippine Senate announced that it will push for a law regulating local colleges and universities (LCUs) all over the country. The senate hearing received evidence from CHED that only a few of the courses offered in LCU institutions have permits from the national government. Attorney Lily Milla of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) gave evidence to the hearing that out of 450 degree programs offered by the country's 93 LCUs, around 42 have permits to operate. Senate education committee chairman, Senator Edgardo Angara, told the same hearing that without a law regulating LCUs, "We will add to the number of diploma mills. We already have enough mills. Many of the poor send their kids to those schools and they're being shortchanged right now".
Private tertiary institutions
Private colleges and universities may either be "sectarian" or "non-sectarian" entities. Institutions may either be "not-for-profit" or "profit-oriented". Most private schools are not-for-profit Catholic like Adamson University (Vincentian), the Ateneo de Manila University (Jesuit), De La Salle University (Christian Brothers), Don Bosco Technical College (Salesian), Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (Marist Brothers of the Schools), Saint Louis University (Philippines) (CICM), San Beda College (Benedictine), University of San Agustin (Augustinian), San Sebastian College – Recoletos (Augustinian Recollects), University of San Carlos, and the Divine Word College of Vigan (SVD), and the University of Santo Tomas and Colegio de San Juan de Letran (Dominican). However, there are also non-Catholic not-for-profit sectarian institutions such as Silliman University (Presbyterian), Adventist University of the Philippines (Seventh-day Adventist), Wesleyan University Philippines (Methodist), Central Philippine University (Baptist), Philippine Christian University (Methodist), Trinity University of Asia (Episcopalian), and New Era University (Iglesia ni Cristo). Non-sectarian private schools, on the other hand, are corporations licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. AMA Computer University, Centro Escolar University, Far Eastern University, and STI College are registered on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Accreditation is a process for assessing and upgrading the educational quality of higher education institutions and programs through self-evaluation and peer judgment. It is a system of evaluation based on the standards of an accrediting agency, and a means of assuring and improving the quality of education. The process leads to a grant of accredited status by an accrediting agency and provides public recognition and information on educational quality.
Accreditation of Private institutions
Voluntary accreditation of all higher education institutions is subject to the policies of the Commission on Higher Education. Voluntary accrediting agencies in the private sector are the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities' Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA), and the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities Accrediting Association Inc. (ACSCU-AAI) which all operate under the umbrella of the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP), which itself is the certifying agency authorized by CHED. Accreditation can be either of programs or of institutions.
All of the institutions accredited by these three agencies certified by FAAP are private institutions. Under CHED's Revised Policies and Guidelines on Voluntary Accreditation in Aid of Quality and Excellence and Higher Education, there are four levels of program accreditation, with Level IV being the highest.
Two institutions, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University-Manila were granted Level IV accreditation pursuant to the provisions of CHED Order, CMO 31 of 1995, but their Level IV institutional accreditation lapsed. Ateneo was granted Level IV re-accreditation in 2011.
At present, nine universities have current institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation is the highest certification that can be given to an educational institution after a consideration of the university's number of individual program accreditations and the result of an overall evaluation of the quality of its facilities, services and faculty. These schools are Adventist University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Naga University, Centro Escolar University, Central Philippine University, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, Silliman University, Trinity University of Asia, and University of Santo Tomas.
At present the Ateneo de Manila University, is the only university in the Philippines that has been simultaneously granted both Level IV Status and institutional accreditation. Silliman University on the other hand is recorded to have the highest number of accredited programs in the country, fourteen of which are on Level IV accreditation status while simultaneously bearing Institutional Accreditation by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines.
Accreditation for Public Institutions
Accrediting agencies for government-supported institutions are the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), and the Association of Local Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (ALCUCOA). Together they formed the National Network of Quality Assurance Agencies (NNQAA) as the certifying agency for government-sponsored institutions. However NNQAA does not certify all government-sponsored institutions.
The Technical Vocational Education Accrediting Agency of the Philippines (TVEAAP) was established and registered with the Securities Exchange Commission on 27 October 1987. On 28 July 2003, the FAAP board accepted the application of TVEAAP to affiliate with FAAP.
Autonomy and Deregulation
In an effort to rationalize its supervision of institutions of higher learning, CHED has also prescribed guidelines for granting privileges of autonomy and deregulation to certain schools. According to the guidelines, the general criteria examined by CHED are an institution's "long tradition of integrity and untarnished reputation", "commitment to excellence", and "sustainability and viability of operations".
Autonomous status allows universities to design their own curricula, offer new programs and put up branches or satellite campuses without having to secure permits, confer honorary degrees, and carry out operations without much interference from CHED. Aside from all host state colleges and universities and other chartered public universities, such as the University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Mindanao State University and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, fifty-three (53) private higher education institutions (HEIs) have been granted autonomous status, which are:
CHED regularly reviews its list of autonomous institutions, with the latest published list valid until 31 May 2014. HEIs granted autonomous status shall enjoy benefits accorded to autonomous institutions until the specified date of validity or unless such status is revoked or suspended.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with deregulated status enjoy the same privilege as autonomous HEIs, but they must still secure permits for new programs and campuses.
CHED regularly updates its list of autonomous institutions with the latest published list valid until 31 May 2014. As at that date 15 deregulated HEIs were listed by CHED.
Rankings and league tables
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There are no set methods for ranking institutions in the Philippines. Aside from comparisons in terms of accreditation, autonomy, and centers of excellence awarded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), there are attempts to rank schools based on performance in board exams conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The PRC and CHED sometimes publish reports on these results.
FindUniversity.ph publishes the lists of top schools in each PRC regulated board exam, aggregated over the past four exams. These lists are updates regularly based on the PRC's publications of the performance of schools in each exam. The FindUniversity.ph website has also created the Weighted Board Exam Ranking which ranks Philippines HEI based on their ranking in all board exams their graduates have participated in. This ranking is also based on the last four exams of each board exam, and takes into account first time takers only, and only schools that had a total of at least 10 participants in the last four exams of each board exam.
In 2009, CHED executive director Julito Vitriolo said that they are in the process of establishing appropriate guidelines to rank Philippine universities and colleges for each specific academic program or discipline. As of June 2015, such rankings do not exist yet.
Internationally, the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, the University of the Philippines, and the University of Santo Tomas are those that had been regularly listed as among the region and world's top universities in league tables and surveys such as in the now-defunct Asiaweek university rankings (which last ranked universities in 1999 and 2000), and the THES-QS World University Rankings in 2005, 2006, and 2008. In the 2007 THES-QS rankings, only UP and the Ateneo remained in the THES-QS rankings' top 500. In 2008, Ateneo, La Salle, UP, and UST once again placed in the rankings, with the Ateneo ranked 254th in the world, UP at 276th while De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas both placed in the Top 401-500 category Ateneo and UP were also ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide in the field of the arts and humanities. The THES-QS rankings are mainly based on peer review survey, while the Asiaweek rankings were measured on the university's endowment and resources. In the 2009 world rankings, two Philippine universities made it to the top 300, with the Ateneo de Manila University ranked 234th and the University of the Philippines ranked 262nd. De La Salle University was ranked within the 401-500 range, whereas the University of Santo Tomas was ranked below 500. Individual subject areas were also ranked in the following categories: Arts and Humanities, Engineering/Technology, Natural Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, and Social Sciences. The Ateneo and UP ranked 88th and 93rd, respectively, in Arts and Humanities, 243rd and 281st, respectively, in Engineering/Technology, 114th and 176th, respectively, in Natural Sciences, 186th and 171st, respectively, in Life Sciences & Biomedicine, and 138th and 123rd, respectively, in Social Sciences, where La Salle was ranked 292nd.
There are other university rankings based on different methodologies and criteria. In the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities by a Spanish research body, which measures a university’s Internet presence and the volume of research output freely accessible online, has UP and La Salle ranked ahead of other local universities. On the other hand, in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities, which is based on Nobel Prize winners, Fields medals for mathematicians, highly cited researchers, or articles in Nature or Science; and, the École des Mines de Paris rankings, which is according to the number of alumni who are the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies, do not have Philippine universities in the top 500.
In the QS 2009 top Asian universities rankings, 16 Philippine schools participated or have been included in the survey. These schools were: Adamson University, the Ateneo de Davao University, the Ateneo de Manila University, Central Mindanao University, De La Salle University, Father Saturnino Urios University, the Mapua Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Saint Louis University (Philippines), Silliman University, the University of the Philippines, the University of San Carlos, the University of Santo Tomas, the University of Southeastern Philippines, and Xavier University.
Unlike the THE-QS world university rankings, the QS 2009 Asian University Rankings is limited in scope to Asian institutions, surveys only parties in Asia, and utilizes different criteria compared to those used in the THE-QS rankings. Given these criteria, four Philippine schools ranked among the top 200: the University of the Philippines (63rd), De La Salle University (76th), Ateneo de Manila University (84th) and the University of Santo Tomas (104th). In the subject areas, four Philippine universities figured in the region's top 100: For Arts and Humanities, the University of the Philippines (12th), the Ateneo de Manila University (19th), De La Salle University (44th), and the University of Santo Tomas (55th) were recognized. For Life Sciences and Biomedicine, the University of the Philippines (47th), the Ateneo de Manila University (52nd), De La Salle University (79th), and the University of Santo Tomas (85th) were recognized. For Natural Sciences, the Ateneo de Manila University (24th),the University of the Philippines (32nd), the University of Santo Tomas (94th), and De La Salle University (97th) were recognized. For Social Sciences, the University of the Philippines (22nd), the Ateneo de Manila University (28th), De La Salle University (51st), and the University of Santo Tomas (75th) were recognized. For IT and Engineering, the University of the Philippines (63rd), the Ateneo de Manila University (64th), and De La Salle University (79th) were recognized. For other indicators, Philippine schools made it to the top 100 in all but three of the ranking criteria (student-faculty ratio, papers per faculty, and citations per paper).
In the same 2009 QS Asian University Ranking, more Philippine universities were included in the top 500 bracket. In terms International Student Review: Ateneo de Manila University (70th), De La Salle University (76th), Silliman University (111th), University of Santo Tomas (183rd), Saint Louis University (Philippines) (216th), University of San Carlos (250th), Mapua Institute of Technology (267th), University of the Philippines (281st), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (345th), Fr. Saturnino Urios University (368th).
In terms of International Faculty Review, the rankings were as follows: Ateneo de Manila University (73rd), University of the Philippines (151st), Silliman University (216th), De La Salle University (283rd), Saint Louis University (Philippines) (288th), University of Santo Tomas (321st), while Fr. Saturnino University, Mapua Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the University of San Carlos tied at the 324th spot.
In 2010, the universities above were included in the QS Asian Universities Survey. Overall, the Ateneo de Manila University (58th), the University of the Philippines (78th), the University of Santo Tomas (101st), and De La Salle University (106th) were ranked among the top 100 in Asia. In the various subject areas, the four universities were among the Asian top 100. For Arts and Humanities, the Ateneo de Manila University (14th), the University of the Philippines (16th), De La Salle University (54th), and the University of Santo Tomas (69th) were recognized. For Life Sciences and Biomedicine, the University of the Philippines (32nd), the Ateneo de Manila University (38th), the University of Santo Tomas (69th), and De La Salle University (84th) were recognized. For Natural Sciences, the Ateneo de Manila University (22nd), the University of the Philippines (31st), and De La Salle University (88th) were recognized. For Social Sciences, the University of the Philippines (18th), the Ateneo de Manila University (25th), De La Salle University (48th), and the University of Santo Tomas (83rd) were recognized. For IT and Engineering, the Ateneo de Manila University (57th), the University of the Philippines (62nd), and De La Salle University (80th) were recognized.
In the other academic criteria, Philippine universities were represented in all but two indicators (international student review and international faculty review). For Academic Peer Review, the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University posted the same scores (96.0), and were ranked 23rd and 24th, respectively. De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas were ranked 70th and 90th, respectively. For Asian recruiter review, the University of the Philippines (22nd), the Ateneo de Manila University (25th), De La Salle University (29th), and the University of Santo Tomas (59th) were recognized. For Student-Faculty ratio, the University of Southeastern Philippines was the only Philippine school recognized, at 43rd. For citations per paper, the University of Santo Tomas was ranked 8th, the only Philippine school recognized in that category. For International Student Exchange-Inbound, the Ateneo de Manila University (48th) and University of San Carlos (53rd) were recognized. For International Student Exchange-Outbound, the Ateneo de Manila University was the only Philippine school recognized, ranking 41st.
Quacquarelli Symonds Asian Rankings 2013
- University of the Philippines 67th
- Ateneo de Manila University 109th
- University of Santo Tomas 150th
- De La Salle University 151st-160th
- University of Southeastern Philippines 251-300th
Quacquarelli Symonds Asian Rankings 2014
- University of the Philippines 63rd
- Ateneo de Manila University 115th
- University of Santo Tomas 141st
- De La Salle University 151st-160th
- Ateneo de Davao University 251-300th
Views of the THES-QS rankings
Rankings such as the THES-QS have been received with mixed reactions. In 2006, Ang Pamantasan, the official student paper of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, published the university's criticism on the rankings, saying that the THES-QS criteria do not apply to the unique landscape of each participating universities, and that such rankings say nothing or very little about whether students are actually learning at particular colleges or universities. On the same year, the University of the Philippines, through its University President Emerlinda Román, expressed that it does not want to participate in the THES-QS Ranking, but was included in 2007 with an incomplete academic profile. That same year, Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. commented on the rankings, pointing out that rankings such as these did not adequately reflect the university's progress or how well it has been working toward achieving its mission-vision.
In 2008, the University of the Philippines questioned the validity of the 2008 THES-QS rankings, claiming that the methodology used was "problematic", and cited the International Ranking Systems for Universities and Institutions: A Critical Appraisal, which found out that The Times simply asks 190,000 ‘experts’ to list what they regard as the top 30 universities in their field of expertise without providing input data on any performance indicators, as one of the bases for rejecting the said survey. Furthermore, the UP said that THES-QS refused to divulge how and where the data were taken from, and instead, advised the university to advertise at the THES-QS website for US$ 48,930 publicity package. CHED Chairperson Emmanuel Angeles, on the other hand, commended all four Philippine universities that made it to the list. He also suggested that Philippine schools would get better in the future THES-QS rankings if they choose to advertise in the THES-QS publications and when budgetary allocations for faculty and researchers, particularly at UP, would become better in the coming years. The Ateneo administration, instead of directly commenting on the 2008 rankings, allowed the publication of an opinion-editorial article on its website, which basically reiterated the same position, even after further improvement.
In 2009, the University of Santo Tomas expressed that "it will be very difficult for a university to rank high in such surveys unless they enjoy big media mileage or they have extensive press releases to advertise themselves". Furthermore, UST lamented that, "it is quite puzzling that another university in the country ranked much higher than UST in the field of Life Sciences and Biomedicine when it hardly offers any course in the field like Pharmacy, Medical Technology, Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy". Despite repeated invitations to participate in conference sponsored by the THES-QS and to advertise the University in its websites and publications, UST strongly refused to do so. The Ateneo administration maintained its previous positions following the 2009 rankings, however actively participates in the survey.
In 2010, following publication of the 2010 QS Asian University Rankings, there were varied responses. The Ateneo administration maintained its previous positions, and together with some faculty members, expressed some satisfaction with the rankings, but committed to continue work on improving the university. In the University of Santo Tomas, some administrators noted their performance vis-a-vis other schools in terms of academic peer review, while the editorial of their student paper noted that some things were amiss with the rankings, noting their university's performance in local board examinations and the marketing and advertising aspect of the rankings.
- Education in the Philippines
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