Commissioner J. Prospero E. De Vera of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) visited ISAT U Iloilo City, Miagao and Leon Campuses last August 18.
The main purpose of Cmsr. De Vera’s visit was primarily to inform the administration and the students on the update of Republic Act 10931 or the Free Access to Higher Education Law signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on August 3, 2017.
De Vera, Chair-Designate of the ISAT U Board of Regents and 23 other SUCs, was on listening tour visit. He aired his commitment to visit the schools in the first Board meeting when he was appointed as CHED Commissioner. “Gagawa ako ng oras para mabisita ko ang mga campuses ng mga SUCs. . . . pagka-nagdedesisyon sa Board of Regents, mahirap kang gumawa ng desisyon kapag hindi mo nakita ang actual na kalagayan sa baba. I visit to know what’s happening in the ground and to be prepared in the next meeting. “
During the open forum, he lauded the bold move of President Duterte to grant universal free education among the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) which was never tried by previous administrations.
A resounding applause from the students was heard when the Commissioner discussed the salient features of RA 10931. “The law provides free tuition and miscellaneous fee to more than one million students starting June of 2018,” De Vera said. He also added that the law provides for free Technical-Vocational courses in TESDA, and with the approval of CHED, local SUCs would also avail the provisions of the law.
Additional subsidy for daily expenses for poor students of public and private universities and the students’ loan program with low interest was also mentioned by De Vera. Free tuition for medical programs of eight SUC’s with deferred service agreement was also highlighted.
To maximize the potential of the law, De Vera underlined the strict implementation of its implementing guidelines. “It should prioritize poor but deserving students. There must be strict admission and retention policies.” he emphasized. “The students to benefit should be serious and passed the minimum number of units required per semester and finish the course within the required period.”
Issues on scholarships and other academic matters and the benefits for the teachers were also clarified during the open forum. Commissioner De Vera also encouraged the faculty to upgrade their professionalism and avail of the scholarship programs offered by CHED.
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