The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) will be providing assistance to higher education demands of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as it undergoes a normalization program.
On Wednesday, CHEd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) to provide technical assistance to higher education institutions (HEIs) and ensure accessible quality education in the new autonomous region.
CHEd, OPAPP and BARMM’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) have committed to ensure that higher education-related initiatives are met consistent with Executive Order 79 or the “Implementing Annex on Normalization Under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”
CHEd Chairman Prospero de Vera 3rd said the commission offered its assistance to help move forward the autonomy and development of higher education in the BARMM.
“We are assisting the BARMM consistent with the policy of President [Rodrigo] Duterte that all young Filipinos must have access to quality education and that no qualified student is denied access to education on account of poverty,” de Vera said.
Opapp Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said education would serve as the foundation for the youth to help transform BARMM through developing critical thinking and give them a better understanding of the armed and other pressing issues in the region to propose solutions to problems by themselves.
He hoped the agreement would help them reach out to students in the area, the underserved and the children of the decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants.
“We are committed to serve them until they achieve their full potential,” Galvez said.
BARRM Education Minister Mohagher Mohammad Iqbal said education was one of the programs that would help in the transition of decommissioning combatants and would also help in responding to pressing social and economic challenges in the Bangsamoro region through a holistic program.
“The Education ministry is aware of the critical role of higher education to the Bangsamoro region particularly in supporting the socio-economic development and local resource requirement of the BARMM,” Iqbal said.
Under the MoU, CHEd will help ensure quality education in HEIs in the region by providing technical assistance to the Education ministry in crafting the Education Code, creating a tribal university system, proposing professional development programs to faculty and staff of BARMM HEIs, mobilizing leading HEIs to help in the region’s education needs, and capacitating the Education ministry in monitoring HEI compliance with quality education standards.
CHEd will also move to help ensure that amnestied or decommissioned MILF combatants and dependents and selected beneficiaries from the six MILF camps in Listahanan 3.0 get access to tertiary education through special scholarship or capacity development programs and study grants.
The Commission will also encourage the deputized Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program HEIs to help children of decommissioned MILF combatants and selected beneficiaries from the six MILF camps to complete their undergraduate study.
It will also coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development regarding the inclusion of underprivileged BARMM students and the children of decommissioned combatants and selected beneficiaries.