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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

CHED OK with foreigners fully owning schools

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Commission on Higher Education chairman Prospero De Vera on Tuesday said his agency is in favor of amending the 1987 Constitution to allow full foreign ownership of schools.

The proposed amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution are embodied in Resolution of Both Houses No. 6.

Aside from education, full ownership is also being sought for public utilities and advertising.

Facing the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, De Vera acknowledged that opening the control and administration of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to foreign nationals would facilitate university-to-university linkages between local and foreign universities and will also increase foreign student enrollment.

“But more important, we are happy that this is being discussed because it allows us to reopen discussions on the framework for higher education, particularly on how to improve quality in higher education, how to ensure that our Philippine universities are competitive, and the kind of interventions and policies that the government must put in place to ensure access to quality higher education,” De Vera said.

The Korean Chamber of Commerce-Philippines, meanwhile, rallied behind the proposed constitutional amendment.

KCCP president Hyun Chong Un told the fifth hearing of the Committee of the Whole House of Representatives on Resolution of Both Houses 7 that his group welcomes the planned liberalization of Philippine education.

He said more Koreans and foreign students would come to the country if there are foreign schools operating here.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Deputy Director General Rosanna Urdaneta meanwhile said the agency supports the proposed amendment to allow foreign participation in higher-level Technical Vocational Education and Training.

She noted that is a source of skills, knowledge and technology needed to drive employment and productivity. Urdaneta also noted the importance of foreign investments in providing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, as well as expertise from foreign trainers.

Department of Labor and Employment Undersecretary Felipe Egargo Jr. said amending certain economic provisions will attract foreign investment. He said this is crucial for generating employment opportunities for Filipinos and advancing economic development.

Citing Section 9, Article II in relation to Paragraph 1, Section 3 of Article XIII of the Constitution, Egargo said that it is the policy of the state to promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.

He informed the panel that at present, some 50,000 Koreans are enrolled in local schools. He added that his compatriots are particularly interested in learning English.

The KCCP head also told the Committee of the Whole House that his group shares the stand of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce supporting the proposed economic constitutional amendments.

Another panel resource person, Ateneo law professor Anthony Abad, appealed to lawmakers “to review the Constitution for amendments that would make our country globally competitive.

Abad, who is involved with foreign trade organizations, said the country’s basic law can be a powerful tool for attracting foreign investments.

He said this has happened in countries like Singapore and Malaysia, “where billions and billions of dollar are flowing because they welcome foreign investments.”

He supported the proposal to empower Congress to change foreign capital and ownership restrictions, instead of these being prescribed in the Constitution.

Abad pointed out that the country’s economy must adapt to a fast-changing world, particularly in the fields of technology and innovation like artificial intelligence.

He said the lackluster performance of local schools is evidenced by the fact that Philippine universities are at the bottom of 500 globally ranked universities.


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