The Government should Review the Performance
and Relevance of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
By Apolinario Villalobos
There is an observed saturation of related courses in the colleges and universities which is the cause of unabated soaring of unemployment of yearly graduates in the country. Experts wonder what are causing the phenomenon which is a precursor of distress among the present generation. They look around, but failed to see the educational breeding grounds – the colleges and universities with their redundant courses.
When tourism boomed, for instance, there was an immediate scramble of colleges and universities in coming up with courses such as BS Tourism, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Airline Secretarial, and many others. All of them four-year courses, when all that the industry needs are people who can communicate well in different languages, especially, English, Japanese and Chinese. Hotels and restaurants need only waiters, bar tenders, cooks, front room personnel. Airline companies need only secretaries who are computer-literate, adept in filing and knowledge in office courtesy. Tour operators and agencies need only tour guides who are proficient in languages, as well as, office staff who can prepare tour packages, answer phoned-in queries, cut tickets, and make bookings. So why the tedious and expensive four years, then, when all the required skill can be had in two-years and several hours of on-the-job training?
The saturation of useless courses offering of colleges and universities is a clear sign that these institutions are not sensitive to what are happening in the country, especially, on the issue of unemployment. They just refuse to acknowledge the fact that their graduates languish in pitiful state of unemployment, after spending hard-earned money and time for four years. I wonder if the “intelligent” guys who run these diploma mills ever make simple analysis about the situation that even a simple cigarette vendor on the street understand. Yet, these institutions proudly display on tarpaulins outside their campuses, photos and names of their graduates who passed board and bar examinations….but beyond that, what?
Surveys are made about unemployment, but again, they never touch the source of unemployed graduates who have been idle for so many years and the shocked newly-graduates to find out why. The government mentioned something about “mismatching” of courses with the requirements of employers…and, the “concern” if ever it can be called such, ends there. Is the government so helpless, such that it cannot even issue mandates to colleges and universities to put a stop to their money-making ventures in the form of useless and redundant courses?
As a last recourse, why not just do away with CHED so that the money saved can be used in enhancing the programs of the Department of Education (DepEd) and TESDA?
All that the DepEd needs is a division or two to handle higher education or collegiate concerns which are all but, as mentioned, useless and redundant courses, while TESDA programs can be expanded to include specializations that may include trainings for flight attendants, cruise crew, flight ticketing personnel, airport check-in staff, reservations agents, tour package specialists, multi-lingual tour guides, in addition to what it already offers such as hotel servicing, development of building construction skills, and computer-related short courses. On the other hand, the colleges and universities should be mandated to streamline their course offerings that should jive with the demands of the current job requirements.
If “productivity” is what the government wants for the college and university graduates, then, a thorough review should be done if CHED is really doing its job or not. Unfortunately, it seems that such call is impossible under the present administration, as the latter is all praise to the agency for its “reports” that beautifully punctuate the SONAs of Pnoy.