Ten state universities and a CHED-recognized local college from Region VIII are now gearing for the implementation of Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access for Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA).
Officials from the region’s higher education institutions attended the Region VIII leg of the CHED-UniFAST Nationwide Information Caravan on R.A. 10931 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at the Leyte Academic Center in Palo, Leyte. Also in attendance were guests and representatives from the technical-vocational institutions, local government units, and media agencies.
The Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Secretariat Officer-in-Charge Executive Director Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison, in her keynote speech, explained that the rules and regulations of the landmark law are designed to increase the opportunities for access to all the vital programs of acquiring a degree or a technical vocational qualification.
“The vision of UniFAST is to engender generations of Filipinos with equitable access to tertiary education that enhances competencies, enabling them to have better quality of lives and be of greater service to the country,” Sison said.
The UAQTEA will provide free tuition, miscellaneous and other similar or related fees defined by the IRR to students admitted in SUCs and LUCs starting Academic Year (AY) 2018-2019. The law also provides a Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) or grants-in-aid, free Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for those enrolled in state-run Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs), and a national Student Loan Program (SLP).
Among the Eastern Visayas-based public higher education institutions that will offer free education are Eastern Samar State University, Eastern Visayas State University, Leyte Normal University, Naval State University, Northwest Samar State University, Palompom Polytechnic State University, Samar State University, Southern Leyte State University, University of Eastern Philippines, Visayas State University, and Maasin City College. Based on CHED data, there are 100,968 students enrolled in State Universities in Region VIII in Academic Year 2016-2017.
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Executive Director Elmer Talavera also gave an update regarding the Implementing Guidelines for Free TVET that the agency is currently drafting. Talavera likewise requested the audience to promote Free TVET among potential learners.
“Ang TVET, wala pang isang semester kalimitan tapos na. Magiging simplified na rin po ang pagpoproseso sa mga magiging beneficiaries nito sa mga state-run Technical-Vocational Institutions,” Talavera said. Inquiries from several Tech-Voc stakeholders were also addressed during the open forum.