Monday, December 22, 2008

Five years of college?

According to the Philippine Star, the Presidential Task Force on Education chaired by Ateneo de Manila president, Fr Ben Nebres recommended to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that tertiary education be at least for 5 years. Fr Nebres essentially suggested the European Bologna system wherein applicants for university will have to spend 2 years of preparatory courses before moving on to three years of university study. This is similar to university qualifying programs offered by some Commonwealth universities. At the end of these two years, the student may enter the job market or proceed to university. This presupposes that the two year qualifying courses provides skills necessary for the job market. The proposed system is essentially a two cycle system

The proposal also calls for mandatory university aptitude exams. This is necessary is this qualifying scheme is to be implemented. There are certain overlaps with the American Associate in Arts degree system. But if Fr Nebres and his committee is looking at the Bologna model, then there should be seamless transition for one who has an AA to get into university (provided he/she passes the qualification exams). All AA courses should be accepted for the BA or BSc.

BTW the Bologna process is an initiative of European universities to make academic qualifications recognized in the whole EU. It isn't an EU initiative but the Council of Europe oversees its implementation. Fr Nebres seems to propsoe a standardized bachelor degrees for the Philippines something like the Eurobachelor in the Bologna process.

I think the main problem is would be to convince parents to spend more for the extra year of education. This would include a major restructuring of our higher education system and this requires more qualified teachers.

Fr Nebres' proposals include increasing the proportion of teachers with graduate degrees in colleges and universities from the 43% we have now to 75% or more by 2015. CHED has begun to address this problem with scholarships.

Let's see how the proposed plans are accepted by the politicians, parents and the public. These all cost money.

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