The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is partnering with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of National Defense (DND) to roll out an improved and strengthened National Service Training Program (NSTP) that will produce students with civic consciousness, defense preparedness and will act as first responders during national emergencies.
CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III, TESDA Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña and DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana jointly signed an agreement at the Department of National Defense to create an NSTP-Technical Working Group (TWG) which will review the existing implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 9163 or the “National Service Training Program Act of 2001.”
In the past 17 years, the NSTP program was not closely monitored and was not uniformly implemented across higher education institutions (HEIs).
This resulted in the high turn-over of NSTP coordinators, concerns about the safety and security of the students during the community immersion, and weak sanctions for HEIs that violated the law and its IRR.
In many areas, NSTP students did not have insurance coverage during their out of school activities, and many HEIs did not offer the full range of NSTP options, particularly Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
According to Chairman De Vera, there is a need for CHED, DND and TESDA to work together to review what has happened in the past years and craft new guidelines that can be issued to all HEIs in order to realize the objective of the NSTP law to produce an active National Service Reserve Corps that will serve the nation.
“Recent developments, such as the implementation of Republic Act 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” and its effect on the NSTP fund, the shift in academic calendar, impact of the K to 12 Basic Education Program, and current national security concerns, makes the review and revision of the IRR an urgent imperative,” De Vera added.
CHED will soon issue a Memorandum Order (CMO) on the NSTP guidelines and standards for common and enhanced module for non-military programs under the NSTP.
“The Commission is serious in making the NSTP supportive to the initiatives of the government and the needs of our country. The draft CMO is now being subjected to zonal consultation,” De Vera said.
CHED, DND and TESDA will work together to review the ROTC Program of Instruction (POI), recasting of the non-military NSTP components (CWTS and LTS) to be DRRM-oriented to operationalize the NSRC as a complement to the AFP Reserves.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education