The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) embarked on an unprecedented investment in the higher education sector in June 2016 through the K to 12 Transition Program, to provide scholarships and grants to faculty affected by the K to 12 implementation. More than 9,500 scholars are being supported under the program, which include support for the tuition fees, living allowances, and other privileges such as thesis/dissertation grants, book allowances, and transport expenses.
In the implementation of the program since June 2016, the Commission has encountered the following challenges that contributed to delays:
1. Volume of documents, which stands at approximately 11,000 sets to date;
2. CHED internal system that is not designed to take in the large scale of scholarship administration, taking in more than 4,000 scholars per year under the K to 12 Transition Program alone, and on top of student scholarships, institutional support, and research grants that the Commission undertakes;
3. Issues and discrepancies in documentary requirements that required multiple follow-ups and re-submissions. 48% of submitted documents have issues, such as:
· Incomplete documentary requirements such as authenticated copy of enrollment form or authenticated copy of grades.
· Incomplete grades and difficulty in verifying of submitted grades with their HEIs and/or failing grades, as good academic standing (passing general weighted average) is needed to continue release of allowances.
4. Additional requirements prescribed by the Commission on Audit (COA). The resident auditor of the Commission issued notices of suspension of audit covering the disbursement of allowances to scholars and grantees approved in FY 2016, requiring the submission of additional documents that should form part of the requirements that will trigger the disbursement; and
5. Delays in the submission of these additional requirements from sending Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
The Commission acknowledges that the delays have caused pain to our scholars, many of whom rely on the living allowances for the daily subsistence of their families. The Commission is taking steps to fast-track the release of allowances through: (1) the hiring of additional manpower to process more than 11,000 sets of documents; (2) introduction of quality checks to ensure that discrepancies can be detected early on, and those with complete and valid requirements get prioritized; and (3) closer coordination with the Regional Offices to expedite the collection and evaluation of documentary requirements, and communication with scholars and their sending institutions.
These steps have improved the release of allowances to the batch of scholars approved in 2017. Furthermore, the allowance for scholars approved in 2016 is being fast-tracked by the Central Office. The Commission has processed documents of 2,152 scholars in the last three weeks, whose documents have been found fully compliant of the guidelines, and their allowances are expected to be released before the year ends.
Meanwhile, recognizing the exigency of providing relief during this time of the year, the Commission is implementing steps to accommodate scholars whose documents are still pending full compliance. For scholars with signed contracts and submitted enrolment forms and/or grades of the completed semester, allowances will be partially released. These scholars however are advised to submit their deficiencies to their respective CHED Regional Offices on or before 10 January 2018 in order to process the balance.
||# of Scholars
||Status and Next Steps
|For FULL release
||Will receive living allowances by 29 December 2017
|For PARTIAL release
||Will receive living allowances by 05 January 201
8.Deficiencies must be submitted to the CHED Regional Office by 10 January 201
||Pending submissions must be submitted to the CHED Regional Office to process allowances
A public tracker will be available on the CHED K to 12 website to guide scholars, including status of payment and pending submissions. Scholars with deficiencies and pending submissions are advised to visit the CHED K to 12 website at https://chedk12.wordpress.com/sgsrequirements/
to be guided accordingly. The Commission’s K to 12 Transition Program Management Unit will work on the backlogs during the Christmas holidays, and shall also be accepting the submissions through this period.
The Commission recognizes that the stop-gap efforts are not enough and we apologize to the scholars for our shortcomings. Longer-term structural reforms should be implemented to sustainably address the perennial problem of delays in releases. CHED appeals for extended patience and continued support in this once-in-a-generation effort.
Such an investment in higher education faculty has never been seen before, contributing to the larger aim of enhancing the Philippine higher education sector, and will redound to the production of better-equipped graduates in a more globalized and competitive economy. The Commission will, with the highest degree of integrity, make the improvement of these systems its top priority, assuring the public that despite the challenges, it remains steadfast in finding ways to fulfill its mandate of supporting institutions, faculty, and staff during the transition period.
Issued this 22nd day of December 2017 at the Higher Education Development Center Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.
For the Commission:
Patricia B. Licuanan, Ph.D.