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CHED's 'Paglaum kag Pagdaug': Hope and victory for Philippine education

BROAD CAST - Jing Castañeda - Philstar.com
CHED's 'Paglaum kag Pagdaug': Hope and victory for Philippine education
Pasig Cong. Roman Romulo and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian during one of the meetings of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2).
Facebook/EDCOM II

The release of the Second Congressional Commission on Education’s (#EDCOM2) report gave us a concrete image of the challenges the education sector is facing. 

EDCOM II, according to its website (www.edcom2.gov.ph/#report), sought to produce a “comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the Philippine education sector for the purpose of recommending transformative, concrete and targeted reforms in the sector with the end in view of making the Philippines globally competitive in both education and labor markets.” 

Indeed, the report put the appropriate emphasis on what we as a nation need to address and I hope that it continues to catch the attention that these issues deserve. 

In detail were the different issues involving students and faculty -- from under-five stunting in preschool (an effect of malnutrition on children five years old and younger adversely affecting their studies) to the high incidence of overworked teachers in every education level.   The comprehensive report was a diligent account of the hurdles currently ahead of us.

As worrisome as the situation looks, the report gave us glimpses of hope. One of them was our Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in Tertiary Education—defined by the World Bank as the percentage denoting the enrollment to tertiary education by the five-year age group that follows high school graduation. Our GER, according to the EDCOM II study, currently sits above our neighbors in the same lower-middle-income category.

This means that higher education is still accessible across sectors, as more students pursue higher education regardless of their economic background.

From there, enrollment share is almost even between state universities and colleges (SUCs) and private institutions.

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero “Popoy” de Vera (center, top row) with the presidents of some of our country’s State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) -- the initial signatories to CHED’s initiative, “Paglaum kag Pagdaug: Access and Success for Quality and Inclusive Higher Education."
Facebook/Popoy de Vera

With SUCs across the country receiving half of overall students, accessibility for enrollment and quality of education must remain a vital point of focus for our leaders. In the midst of the obstacles brought to light by the EDCOM II study, the latest project launched by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) offers us assurance in the future.

A bid for ‘hope and victory’ by CHED

In February, CHED officially introduced “Paglaum kag Pagdaug: Access and Success for Quality and Inclusive Higher Education." It’s an initiative that wants to address the fair representation of disadvantaged students seeking higher education. 

From the Hiligaynon phrase meaning “Hope and Victory,” the newest program seeks to further improve the accessibility of SUCs, by helping public institutions design and implement student support services or interventions to keep them in school.

Paglaum kag Pagdaug will start as the research project "Empowering Equity Target Students: Enhancing Access in State Universities and Colleges across Region I, VIII, and XII" with a total of 20 higher education institutions participating. 

CHED’s latest initiative was officially launched the same day CHED Chairman Prospero “Popoy” De Vera was called to be presented the Gawad Oblation award from the University of the Philippines (UP) for his work in the country’s education sector.

(Left) UP president Angelo Jimenez gives the Gawad Oblation Award to Commission on Higher Education Chairman Popoy de Vera; (Right) Chairman Popoy with family and friends.
Facebook/Popoy de Vera

Sharing the spotlight with remarkable Filipino students

The Gawad Oblation award is a recognition conferred to UP alumni across different sectors for “extraordinary service with or in the name of UP.”

According to UP president Angelo Jimenez, Chairman Popoy "has done more than increase international prestige and recognition of UP.  He has been helping increase the number of enrolled college students while raising standards and strengthening the partnership of higher education institutions as chairman of the Commission on Higher Education.”

As someone who has had the chance to work with Chairman Popoy, I’m happy to extend my heartfelt congratulations for his recognition, for it is one he truly deserves. A lifetime ago, we were co-anchors on DZMM’s top-rating Turo-Turo teleradyo program. It was an ABS-CBN news and public affairs program that focused in, of course, education.

This history we shared made me eager to listen to his speech as he received the Gawad Oblation award. And true to his fashion as the Popoy we know, he found a way to share the spotlight to the same people he has served throughout his career.

I could not help but feel emotional as Chairman Popoy shared the stories and voices of many outstanding Filipinos who kept their aspiration for education alive despite the odds.

While it was an afternoon that honored servants like him, the CHED chief instead chose to give us a glimpse on the lives of people such as Mikka Ella Samparada, Antonio “Tony” Esquelador Jr., Reynard Pasok, Abdulkadil Jani, Reynald Labong, and many others, who despite the different walks of life they came from, shared a yearning to succeed through education. 

Listening to their stories reminded me of why my colleagues and I at ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata 163 stayed committed to the work we do. We all wanted to be the bridge for the disadvantaged and underprivileged.  I see the same compassion in the work that the team at CHED continues to put in, and I commend them for it.

Photo taken at the DZMM radio booth when CHED Chairman Popoy de Vera and I anchored “Turo-Turo” in 2010, ABS-CBN’s top-rating and multi-awarded Teleradyo program on education.

As Chairman Popoy himself put it, “all of these students represent the best in the Filipino. They all portray the ability to dream and aspire for a better life, the discipline and hard work needed to succeed, the tenacity to keep on going against all odds, the refusal to give up, and the desire to give back to their family and community.”

As this latest endeavor seeks to improve accessibility for higher education, CHED also expressed its objective to tackle the next phase of challenges, which is to improve the quality of education received. Chair Popoy shared his vision for Paglaum kag Pagdaug as a project that can be introduced to more SUCs, and a way to equip policymakers with actionable insights to address the issue of attrition and education quality within SUCs.

Paglaum kag Pagdaug, or hope and victory, is a fitting name for the initiative. For, like the stories of remarkable Filipinos that Chair Popoy shared with us, education is, after all, a source of hope and a fight for the future. 


Watch Pamilya Talk on Facebook and YouTube (@JingCastaneda – 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Monday & Wednesday). You can also follow my social media accounts: InstagramFacebookYouTubeTiktok and Twitter.  Please share your stories or suggest topics at [email protected].

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