Dr. Rosita L. Navarro, President of Centro Escolar University

University-Industry Collaboration in the Philippines
Dr. Rosita L. Navarro (Ph. D.)
President of Centro Escolar University, Mendiola
Manila, Philippines
Since the second half of the twentieth (20th) century, education officials in the
Philippines have been preoccupied with the search for solutions to the paradox of
mismatch between higher education output and job market demands. This concern
started in the early sixties when Harbison and Myers (1965) published Manpower and
Education, the result of their survey of nations correlating their level of human resource
development with their per capita GNP. They proceeded from the hypothesis that the
higher the level of human resource development of a nation, the higher its economic
development would be. Indeed, they found positive correlation for all the countries they
surveyed except for one country – the Philippines. At the time of the survey, the
Philippines had one of the highest literacy rates, 85%; it was second to the United States
in the production of college graduates, higher than Russia, and the highest in Asia, but its
level of economic development was lower than countries with less numbers of college
graduates (Harbison and Myers, pp. 333-334).
Education Survey of 1970
To address this problem, the Presidential Commission to Survey Philippine
Education (PCSPE) was created in 1970. The results of the survey confirmed the
mismatch and the Commission forwarded appropriate policy recommendations which
were adopted in the crafting of Presidential Decree 6-A, otherwise known as the
Philippine Educational Development Act of 1973. The technical-vocational education
sector responded positively to the decree’s prescription for closer industry-education
linkage, but the desired linkage did not materialize on the college and university level.
Wake-Up Call
A decade after the issuance of the decree, of the 1.3 million tertiary-level
enrollment, 84% were concentrated in some 140 degree programs offered by about 1,131
colleges and universities. Earlier, a high school diploma was sufficient to land one on
higher paying white-collar jobs, but as more college graduates entered the work force, the
desire for the college diploma became stronger for one to be competitive. With
competition tough in the local job market, Filipino technicians and skilled workers
gravitated to the foreign job market which, in 1982 employed about 800,000 Filipino
overseas contract workers in more than 100 countries. The continuing large-scale
production of college graduates resulted in the phenomenon of the educated unemployed
and under employed in the Philippines.
Education Act of 1982
To provide legal backbone to the Philippine Educational Development Act of 1973,
the legislature enacted Batas Pambansa 232, otherwise known as the Education Act of
1982 which mandated, among others, that tertiary education should pursue the following
to provide a general education program that will promote national identity,
cultural consciousness, moral integrity and spiritual vigor;
to train the nation’s manpower in the skills required for national development;
to develop the profession that will provide leadership for the nation;
to advance knowledge through research work and apply new knowledge for
improving the quality of human life and responding effectively to changing
societal needs and conditions.
Need for Drastic Reforms
The number of surplus college graduates, however, continued to grow. The
overflow was absorbed in foreign job placements that did not require college education.
The phenomenal brain drain occurred in the Philippine employment scenario, putting
more strain on the nation’s economy. In 1989, the Joint Resolution No. 2 of the Congress
of the Philippines created the Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) which
undertook an incisive, comprehensive look into Philippine Education and submitted in
1991 its report entitled “Making Education Work: An Agenda for Reform”.
Acting on the Congressional Commission on Education (EdCOM)
recommendations, the Philippine Congress enacted in 1994 two landmark educational
legislations: R.A. 7722 creating the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and R.A.
7796 creating the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Thus, in effect, the humongous Department of Education that used to manage all levels of
education in the Philippines was relieved of the post-secondary technical-vocational and
tertiary levels and left to concentrate on basic education.
On its first year, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) identified its
mission and goals in close consultation with leading public and private higher education
institutions and professional organizations. Drawing heavily from the letter and
substance of the law that created it, CHED finalized the vision, mission and strategic
directions of Philippine higher education.
The higher education system of the Philippines is a key player in the education and
integral formation of professionally competent, service-oriented, principled, and
productive citizens. Through its tri-fold function of teaching, research and extension
services, it becomes a prime-mover of the nation’s socioeconomic growth and sustainable
Guided by this vision and under the leadership of CHED, a dynamic and facilitative
organization staffed by qualified and service-oriented personnel, higher education
institutions that comprise the system shall:
a. offer programs and services that meet the demands of an industrializing economy
within the context of sustainable development and a culture of peace, as well as
the challenges of a diverse and globalized society;
b. nurture an academic environment that fosters integrated learning, creative and
critical thinking, appreciation of cultural diversity and national identity, and
inculcates moral values;
c. conduct research to support instruction, create new knowledge, and enhance the
quality of life in society; and
d. undertake extension programs and services that facilitate the transfer of
technology, foster leadership and promote self-reliance among the less privileged
in Philippine society.
Strategic Direction
CHED identified four (4) major goals and the strategies to achieve them.
1. Efficiency and Effectiveness
Establish a policy and legal framework required for rationalization of the
higher education system particularly the State Universities and Colleges
Strengthen complementation and productive partnerships between and among
public and private higher education institutions (HEIs), and between
education and other sectors.
Ensure optimal returns from the utilization of higher education resources.
2. Quality and Excellence
Offer quality undergraduate and graduate education programs with standards
comparable with those offered by leading international HEIs.
Become a regional knowledge center in the Asia-Pacific region in selected
disciplines particularly in areas where Philippine higher education
institutions have a distinctive competitive edge.
3. Relevance and Responsiveness
Generate, adapt and disseminate knowledge that equips graduates with
competencies, values and skills vital in a dynamically changing domestic and
international environment.
Utilize state-of-the art and appropriate information and communication
technology and other innovations in education.
4. Access and Equity
Provide deserving and qualified Filipinos opportunities for affordable quality
tertiary programs and services.
Strides in Higher Education
Up until the creation of the Commission on Higher Education, “laissez faire”
pervaded the higher education scenario in the Philippines resulting in the unabated
increase of private colleges and universities. The first six (6) years of CHED is
characterized by organizational effort, planning, monitoring and guarded innovations.
Table 1 shows the growth of higher education during the first six (6) years of
Sector/Institutional Type
Table 1: Number of Higher Education Institutions by Sector/Institutional Type and Year
Figure 1 shows the distribution of higher education institutions as of May 2003. The
total number of higher education institutions is 1,478 of which 1,305 are private while
174 are public. Of the private HEIs, 980 (66.30%) are non-sectarian while 325 (21.99%)
are sectarian. State universities and colleges (SUCs) are 111 (7.51%). 44 (2.97%) local
universities/colleges (LUCs) and 18 (1.22%) other HEIs.
Figure 1: Distribution of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by Type
SUCs – State Universities and Colleges
LUCs – Local Universities and Colleges
PNSs – Private Non-sectarians
PSs - Private Sectarians
Other HEIs – include twelve (12) other government institutions, five (5) special
HEIs and one (1) CHED supervised institutions
With the increase in the school-going population, enrollment in higher education
also increased at an annual rate of 3.43%. In Academic Year 2000-2001 aggregate
enrollment in colleges and universities reached 2,637,039 with 73.11% in private HEIs
and 26.89% enrolled in public HEIs. The number of graduates likewise increased to
370,528 in Academic Year 1999-2001. Arcelo et al. (1982) placed at 84,000 the surplus
educated graduates out of the total HEIs output of 140,000 during the year. It was
estimated that there would be a surplus of a quarter of a million educated manpower at
the turn of the 21st century. This surplus accounts not only for unemployment and
underemployment but for manpower exodus in the United States, Canada, Australia,
some countries in Europe and in the Middle East.
Confronted with these realities and responding to the challenges of the new
millennium, the Commission on Higher Education formulated the Long-Term Higher
Education Development Plan: 2001-2010 with key results areas, performance indicators,
and strategies along the four (4) goals of Philippine Higher Education: efficiency and
effectivenesss, quality and excellence, relevance and responsiveness, access and equity.
In pursuit of relevance and responsiveness, the ten-year plan identifies industry-academe
partnership with targets of 30% of HEIs and 60% of HEIs having collaborative projects
with industry by year 2005 and 2010, respectively.
Private Initiatives in University—Industry Linkage
Almost 1,000 private non-sectarian colleges and universities presently account for
more than 1 million students in various degree programs. These private nonsectarian
HEIs were established under the Corporation Law of 1906 and the Private Education Law
of 1917.
The CHED exercises supervision over these HEIs, issues permits and recognitions
and monitors their compliance with the CHED policies and standards. They are wholly
dependent on tuition fees for their operation and facilities build-up. Lately, about ten
percent (10%) have enjoyed some degree of deregulation for obtaining Levels 2 and 3
Accreditation. Accreditation is the recognition that a program possesses quality that
exceeds in varying degrees the minimum requirements set by CHED.
At present, employability of graduates is accepted as indicator of the quality of
college education. In the past fifty years private non-sectarian HEIs insure placement of
their graduates through formal or informal agreements with business and industry in the
last semester or school year of the degree program through partial or full immersion in
practicum or internship. Lately, more and more companies realize the value of agreeing
to be cooperators in the practicum/internship of senior college students.
Industry-university collaboration has proved beneficial to three sectors.
For the students:
Workplace orientation and opportunity to apply their skills, knowledge and proper
work attitude.
Enhanced employability
Transportation allowance which some companies provide
Better chances for career mobility
For companies:
Prospective workers are developed according to the companies’ specifications.
Practicum students prove to be assets in the workplace.
For schools:
Reduced need for sophisticated equipment and facilities
Responsiveness to industry needs.
Better employment for graduates
Enhanced public image.
The private non-sectarian HEIs which enjoy Levels 2 and 3 accreditation status are
able to incorporate their industry cooperators’ recommendations in their respective
curricula. Technology providers, training hospitals, manufacturing firms, and companies
in the service industry have started to lend their experts to serve as consultants in selected
private colleges and universities. A few universities have already explored linkage with
foreign-based companies for their senior students’ practicum. With this development we
are optimistic that CHED may be able to reach its target of academe – industry linkages
for 30% of HEIs in 2005 and 60% of HEIs in 2010, the end of the plan period.
Arcelo, Adriano, Waldo Perfecto, Bikas Sanyal. Higher Education and the Labor Market
in the Philippines. Paris: UNESCO, 1982.
Education and Manpower Development Programs. Quezon City: Congressional
Oversight Committee on Education, 1993.
Harbison, Frederick H. Human Resources as the Wealth of Nations. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1973.
Harbison, Frederick and Charles Myers. Education, Manpower and Economic Growth.
New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1964.
----. Manpower and Education. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1965.
Higher Education and the Labor Market: The Southeast Asian Experience. Manila:
ASAIHL Philippine Council, 1984.
Higher Education Research Papers. Pasig City: Commission on Higher Education
(CHED), 2001.
Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan: 2001-2010. Pasig City: CHED, 2001.
Philippine Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century. Pasig City: The Task Force
on Higher Education, CHED, 1995.
Valisno, Mona D. (ed.). The Reform and Development of Higher Education in the
Philippines. Pasig City: CHED, 2000.