The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) together with representatives from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) pledged support in pushing for the implementation of Adult Education Program to address the emerging needs of adult learning professionals.
“While the population remains relatively young, the demographic trends now show that increasingly adult population is becoming bigger. Now, we have the opportunities which have not been dealt in the past and makes it right for us to go further in Adult Education,” CHED Chairman Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III said on his speech during the Adult Education Training Program conference held recently at Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga.
Chairman De Vera tackled the imperatives of Adult Education in the Philippine Higher Education to address the needs of adult learning professionals, and the need to reconfigure Adult Education Program as a strategic program for upskilling or reskilling.
HEIs’ Vision on Adult Education
Ayessa Marie Velasquez, Coordinator of the Ateneo de Davao Academy of Lifelong Learning (ADD-ALL), stressed the potential of Adult Education, not only for the universities but also to the communities.
“We have to keep up on the current trends of education especially the world is rapidly changing. That is why we have Adult Education because it rejects the dichotomization of education, where the acquisition of knowledge is confined only to formal school, and where the application of knowledge is expected only in the workplace,” Velasquez said.
“As a lifelong learning institute we want to inspire, engage and enable our adult learners to achieve their goals, and provide the skills to enhance personal development, social inclusion, active citizenship and employability,” Velasquez added.
Furthermore, Jeremy Morales, Director for International Relations at St. Paul University in Tuguegarao City implied the need for Filipinos to upskill or reskill what they already have so that they will be updated on the new trends in their chosen field of study.
Morales also mentioned the role of CHED in providing educational assistance to Filipinos.
“We know that education is expensive but CHED is giving opportunities for many Filipinos to be able to get quality education for free, if not, for a minimal amount,” he said.
Davao del Norte State College meanwhile focuses on the poorest municipalities in their region, particularly the Indigenous People (IP) as the main target of their Adult Education program.
“Davao del Norte State College is really committed in pushing the program. Since we already have free tuition and miscellaneous, we focus on the poorest municipalities, particularly the IPs, since we want to help them convert their land into productive communities,” said Marilou Junsay, Dean of the Institute of Management Governance and Continuing Studies and Coordinator of the Special Programs for Adult Education.
One of the representatives of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Josie Di Vincenzo, stressed the great need to access adult education- whatever form that may be- formal or informal, and there should be a sort of recognition on that type of education.
“The aim of Adult Education Program is to develop and foster the skill set that learners currently don’t even know that they have so that they can create more meaning in their lives and become more active participants in their community,” she said.
Chairman De Vera then urged universities to do innovative programs, work together, share and develop linkages to create their own Adult Education Program.
“Universities are free to offer Adult Education Program on their own. It is not a degree program. You are free to innovate,” Chairman De Vera said.
He stressed that in order to move forward, universities should do it not because they need people to get jobs but because adults should continuously learn while they are alive, which is why they need to reframe it- not exclusively as an employment-related activity.
Apart from CHED and the HEIs, Chairman De Vera also mentioned the Duterte Administration’s commitment to support sustainable capital development in the national development plan. He said that the focus on education and lifelong learning is a central element of the national framework.
“The Philippines is going into unchartered waters. No developing country in the world is trying what the country is doing now through Republic Act 10391 to increase access to HEIs. We have created a ladderized education system and at the same time, the government added additional commitment and responsibility in the education system has expanded and has been funded better,” he said.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education