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Friday, December 8, 2023

College equivalency bill hurdles 3rd reading

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the proposed law institutionalizing the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP).

If enacted, ETEEAP would allow undergraduate professionals to get a bachelor’s degaree.

House Bill (HB) 9015, or simply the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program Act was passed by a 251 vote.

Tingog Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Jude A. Acidre were among the main authors of the bill.

“The ETEEAP refers to the alternative education program in the Philippines that allows working professionals who were either unable to finish their college education or were completely unable to advance into college for different reasons to earn a bachelor’s degree without going through the traditional schooling method,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said. Maricel V. Cruz The leader of the 311-strong House of Representatives said the program was introduced in 1996 through Executive Order (EO) 330, signed by the later former president Fidel V. Ramos.

ETEEAP, the bill says, aims to strengthen the system of academic equivalency and accreditation at the college level, including the validation of the knowledge and expertise derived by senior high school graduates, post-secondary technical-vocational graduates, and college undergraduate students from relevant work experiences and high-level, nonformal training in order to harness their full potentials.

HB 9015, which seeks to make ETEEAP part of the laws of the land, defines the program as an equivalency and accreditation pathway for obtaining a college degree for senior high school graduates, post-secondary technical-vocational graduates, and college undergraduates who have become professionals with an aggregate of five or more  years of work experience.

It stated that the knowledge, experiences, achievements, and skills obtained by the undergraduates through their jobs shall be used to earn school credits that are then deducted from the total number of units or credits that they are required to earn before they graduate.

They shall also fulfill the requirements of Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 11510, otherwise known as the “Alternative Learning System Act”, with regard to certification from the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Institutionalization of ETEEAP give this laudable policy permanence, meaning more Filipino professionals will benefit from it in the coming years,” Speaker Romualdez said.

To qualify for the ETEEAP, the applicant must be a Filipino citizen, at least 23 years of age, with at least five years work experience, and must submit the following documentary requirements: (a) duly-accomplished ETEEAP Application form; (b) certification of having passed the Accreditation and Equivalency Assessment conducted by the DepEd; (c) employment certificates; (d) birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority; (e) resume, curriculum vitae, or personal data sheet; (f) service record or employment certificate signed by the employer; (g) job description signed by the employer; and (h) transcript of records.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) shall be the lead agency in the implementation of the provisions of this Act.

It shall accredit colleges  and universities that seek to offer the ETEEAP as part of their academic program.

For purposes of this Act, the CHED shall be given additional powers and functions in relation to the ETEEAP These include the power to deputize higher education institutions (HEI) which will conduct equivalency assessments, develop assessment instruments, provide academic supplementation, or award; safeguard the continuing integrity and quality measures of the ETEEAP by linking and cooperating with appropriate development and regulatory agencies and institutions; and update the Social Development Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board on the implementation of the program for policy coordination and monitoring purposes.

The CHEd also can set standard fees and other administrative charges for accreditation that will contribute to and be part of the Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF); Establish criteria, procedure and documentary requirements to ensure its integrity, quality and successful implementation; and monitor and evaluate deputized HEIs based on developed standardized tool.

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