In photo- Mohagher Iqbal, Minister of Basic, Higher Education and TESDA

CHED-BARMM Ministry of Education partners for Accessible Quality Education in New Autonomous Region

COTABATO CITY - The agreement on accessible quality education in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have been finalized by CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III and BARMM Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical (Madaris) Education Mohagher Iqbal at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City on April 9.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), together with leading Philippine universities, will partner and engage with the BARMM - Transition Authority to ensure accessible quality education in the new autonomous region in Mindanao.

The agreement in the meeting being capped said that CHED and top Philippine universities will provide technical assistance to the BARMM and the colleges and universities under its jurisdiction on the following areas:

1. Assistance to BARMM to ensure the inclusion of private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the BARMM in the CHED/Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Registry of qualified HEIs for RA 10931. This will allow these private HEIs to apply and avail the benefits of Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) for their students under Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. Under RA 10931, students enrolled in private HEIs in cities and municipalities where there are no state university and college (SUC) or local university and college (LUC) can receive up to PhP60,000 annual educational assistance from the government,

2. Capacitate the BARMM in monitoring the compliance of HEIs with standards for quality education,

3. Assist the BARMM in developing a database of poor students and children of MILF combatants so that they can be included in the government’s provision of TES. RA 10931 prioritizes students whose names are in the Listahanan 2.0 of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the grant of TES. Many students in the BARMM are not included in the database because of the inaccessibility of their communities or due to the armed conflict,

4. Mobilize HEIs offering Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) programs in Mindanao to help the children of MILF combatants complete their undergraduate degrees. 

The CHED will also mobilize the following universities to provide technical assistance to the BARMM: 

- Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology for engineering and technology

- Mindanao State University-Naawan for fisheries

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

- UPLB College of Agriculture, Central Mindanao University and University of Southeastern Philippines for agriculture

- University of the Philippines-Manila College of Public Health for community health care delivery systems

- University of the Philippines Diliman School of Urban and Regional Planning and UP Resilience Institute for technical assistance to local governments in planning and development

- Ateneo de Davao for continuing adult education

CHED Chairman De Vera also lauded the efforts of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. in linking CHED and BARMM to ensure education services are prioritized in the area.

"The leadership of Sec. Galvez was instrumental because he discussed with CHED the need to assist the BARMM even before the Bangsamoro Transition Authority was constituted," De Vera said.

"We are assisting the BARMM consistent with the policy of President Duterte that all young Filipinos must have access to quality education and that no qualified student is denied access to education on account of poverty," he added.

The CHED and BARMM have constituted a Technical Working Group (TWG) to work on the details of the agreed partnership. The CHED TWG members include UniFAST OIC Executive Director Atty. Carmelita P. Yadao-Sison, and CHED Directors Dr. Maximo C. Aljibe, Dr. Nelia A. Alibin and Corinna O. Cabanilla.