In a recent announcement, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has reported a significant increase in university-aged students enrolling in Philippine universities and colleges, due to the free higher education program. According to CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera, the participation rate of university-aged students has risen from 32 percent to 41 percent due to this initiative.
De Vera emphasized that this boost in participation signifies a clear message to students: they can now afford to pursue higher education and reach graduation. The free higher education program has effectively removed financial barriers, making education more accessible to a broader demographic.
Furthermore, De Vera highlighted that the challenge of access to education is no longer a pressing issue. Instead, the focus now needs to shift towards ensuring the delivery of quality education. He attributed the positive outcomes, including improved licensure examination results and higher international rankings for Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs), to government investments.
One notable achievement mentioned was Samar State University (SSU) topping the World University Rankings for Innovation (WURI) for two consecutive years in the Fourth Industrial Revolution category. Additionally, De Vera pointed out that more Philippine universities, both private and public, are actively participating in international rankings, showcasing their commitment to quality education.
In a remarkable development, the number of Philippine universities in international rankings has increased from 15 to 52, as reported by President Marcos during his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA). This surge in recognition underscores the growing global recognition of the Philippine higher education sector.
Overall, the free higher education program has significantly expanded access to education in the Philippines, with a focus now on ensuring that this accessibility is accompanied by quality education standards.