In the advent of the ASEAN Economic Integration, its citizens will soon move freely from one member economy to another, therefore, tools for enhancing the comparability of and building trust in the quality of qualifications of students, skilled workers and professionals are becoming increasingly important.

“When people begin to move freely for various reasons and especially for study or employment, comparability of qualifications becomes paramount. Comparability of qualifications… presume trust in the quality of the qualifications that are being compared” this was emphasized by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan during her opening remarks at the “Mobility in ASEAN: Referencing and Recognition of Qualifications” conference on July 14 at the New World Manila Bay Hotel.

As a background, Executive Order (EO) No. 83, issued in 2012, institutionalized the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), a national policy describing the levels of educational qualifications and setting the standards for qualification outcomes. The institutionalization of the PQF was further reinforced by the legislation in December 2014 of Republic Act (RA) 10647 (the Ladderized Education Act of 2014). This Act legislated the Philippine Qualifications Framework-National Coordinating Council (PQF-NCC) which is the body responsible for institutionalizing the PQF and spearheading its link to the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF)—a regional framework that functions as a translation device to enable comparisons of qualifications across ASEAN Member States towards greater mobility of students and professionals within the ASEAN region.

 

The objective of the conference was to orient and update various stakeholders on

PQF, AQRF and other ASEAN frameworks and arrangements that have profound implications for the country’s qualifications. In particular, the Conference elaborated on the efforts towards the institutionalization of PQF on the ground and its upcoming referencing to the AQRF in 2018. It was also intended to provide a venue for obtaining feedback and ideas from stakeholders on how best to substantiate and move the PQF forward. About 300 representatives from education providers in various levels, basic, technical-vocational and higher education, relevant government and non-government agencies, accreditation bodies, industry partners as well as guests from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (AUSTRADE) attended the conference.

“At the end of the day, developing and further refining our qualifications system will compel us to mobilize stakeholders. Such review can only redound to reforms that aim to fill many gaps and, in the process, continuously transform our education system and the world of work,” Licuanan concluded.

The “Mobility in ASEAN: Referencing and Recognition of Qualifications” was organized by CHED in cooperation with the other four government agencies of the PQF-NCC, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) with support from the ASEAN National Organizing Committee of the Philippines.