PARTNERSHIP. The Commission on Higher Education says the country's top universities, including the University of the Philippines will help colleges in the Bangsamoro region improve courses. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Prominent universities to provide "technical assistance" to education institutions in BARMM

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao– Chairman Prospero de Vera III of Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal inked an agreement to tap the country’s prominent universities to help improve colleges courses in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

De Vera in a statement on April 9 said the agreement will focus on improving access to quality higher education in the new Bangsamoro Region.

According to April 10 Rappler report, that under the agreement, several universities were tasked to provide "technical assistance" to education institutions in BARMM in specific subject areas, ranging from engineering to development.

The universities and the corresponding subject areas are as follows:

Mindanao State University (MSU)-Iligan Institute of Technology - Engineering and technology

MSU-Naawan - Fisheries

University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) College of Public Affairs and Development - Governance, project development and monitoring

UPLB College of Agriculture, Central Mindanao University, University of Southeastern Philippines - Agriculture

UP Manila College of Public Health - Community health care delivery systems

Ateneo de Davao - Continuing adult education

CHED, according to the report said that it also tapped the UP Diliman School of Urban and Regional Planning and the UP Resilience Institute to assist local government units in planning and development.

Higher education institutions in Mindanao offering the expanded tertiary education equivalency and accreditation program were also be tapped to assist children of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants in completing undergraduate degrees, Rappler also said in its report.

De Vera said that under the agreement, CHED promised to assist BARMM in making sure higher education institutions in the new region would be part of the commissions’ registry of schools qualified for Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

Having BARMM colleges and universities part of the registry would allow students to apply and avail of the tertiary education subsidy (TES), which provides allowances for books, transportation, and boarding fees under the law.

The agreement also wants to make sure that BARMM develops a database of children of former MILF combatants and poor students to ensure they will be eligible for TES.

This would address the current issue of many students from BARMM who are not part 

De Vera said CHED and BARMM have formed a technical working group to iron out details of the agreement.

The new region was established after the successful conduct of a two-phased plebiscites in the former ARMM core areas, Cotabato City, and Isabela City and in various barangays in North Cotabato. It was inaugurated on March 29 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, Cotabato City with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as Keynote Speaker.