Prospects for SEARCA to assist CHED in capacity dev’t program explored

  • 12 September 2014, Friday

Commissioner Ruperto S. Sangalang (right) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippines was received by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, and Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Program Head for Graduate Education and Institutional Development, on his visit to SEARCA on 5 September 2014.

Commissioner Ruperto S. Sangalang of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippines visited SEARCA on 5 September 2014 to explore how SEARCA can assist in capacity development of state universities and colleges (SUCs) and other higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country so they can be competitive with others in Southeast Asia in light of the regional integration in 2015. Dr. Sangalang is the CHED Commissioner in charge of agriculture.

In a meeting with Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, and Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Program Head for Graduate Education and Institutional Development, Dr. Sangalang said he was concerned that in the rankings of top universities in agriculture in Southeast Asia, only the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) appeared in the list. Whereas he could identify the top 10 SUCs in agriculture, he said these universities can further be supported and capacitated to be strong in research and publications.    

Dr. Sangalang opened the discussion on the possibility of tapping SEARCA to implement a CHED program consisting of scholarships for regular master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as by research, and non-degree scholarships/training such as sandwich programs, internships, and study tours in universities overseas. The program could run for five years, with only three universities to be assisted in the first year, and two universities to be added in the second year, and so on.

Part of the output of the program that Dr. Sangalang envisions is to build in each participating university a research center that will focus along their comparative advantage, i.e., specializing on the major commodity in their locality.

Dr. Saguiguit informed the CHED Commissioner that SEARCA has collaborated on a similar program with the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) to develop agriculture professionals and executives. He said the proposed program may be patterned after the DA capacity building program with 25% degree scholarships and 75% non-degree training activities.

CHED is an agency created in 1994 that is attached to the Office of the President. It is mandated to “promote relevant and quality higher education—i.e., higher education institutions and programs are at par with international standards and graduates and professionals are highly competent and recognized in the international arena.”