The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday launched a research initiative to assess the admission system and retention of students in select state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.
In a press launch of the program at the CHED Auditorium in Diliman, Quezon City, CHED Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III said the research, under the “Paglaum kag Pagdaug” (Hope and Victory) initiative, shall identify challenges and provide interventions to address the rising attrition rate among students.
“For those that come to the university, the attrition rate is still very high, meaning, we might be succeeding in bringing more people to university but many of them fall on the wayside and do not complete their education,” he said.
At least four out of 10 students in higher education either temporarily or permanently left school last academic year 2022-2023, according to CHED.
It attributed the increasing attrition to financial difficulties, family problems, relocation, medical or mental health concerns, and academic difficulties, among others.
“The problem is clear but we can only act on it if empirical data is available so that the actions of our SUCs will be data-driven, it is evidence-driven, that’s why we need the study,” de Vera said.
De Vera said the CHED allotted at least a PHP5 million budget for each of the three initial regions where the research shall be conducted.
These include five public universities in the Ilocos region, 10 SUCs in Eastern Visayas, and five public universities in Soccsksargen.
Among the considerations in choosing the initial regions include high poverty incidence, insurgency, high number of small SUCs, and innovative performance in terms of higher education which may serve as a basis of best practices for intervention, de Vera said.
“If we find out that the admission system disproportionately disadvantages certain sectors. The study will now direct universities about the options that they can take to improve their admission system. So more people from public schools, from rural areas, children of indigenous communities, children of rebel returnees will be able to get in,” he said.
He, however, said other SUCs in the country may already apply intervention once initial findings are available through information-sharing and workshops.
De Vera underscored the need to ensure not only the access, but also the success or completion of students in higher education.
As of June 2023, the Philippines stood second to Singapore at 51.38 percent in terms of the tertiary education participation rate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. (PNA)