CHED: Basic law degrees not equivalent to PhDs
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has expressed "serious concern" over a Legal Education Board (LEB) resolution which implies that basic law degrees are equivalent to doctoral degrees in other non-law academic disciplines.
CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III made the statement late Friday, January 11, after LEB Resolution 2019-406 made rounds on social media.
"The Commission on Higher Education views with serious concern Resolution 2019-406 purportedly issued by the Legal Education Board, and posted on social media, that declares, inter alia, that the basic law degrees, whether Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD), shall be considered as equivalent to doctoral degrees in other non-law academic disciplines for purposes of appointment/employment, ranking and compensation," De Vera said.
"The issuance of this Resolution has been interpreted by some to mean that individuals who have completed basic law degrees have been granted doctoral degrees," he added.
De Vera said CHED is open to a dialogue with LEB on the matter.
"Considering that the said Resolution has only been issued recently by the Legal Education Board, CHED is open to sit down with the LEB to discuss issues attendant to this Resolution and find an acceptable solution to benefit all parties concerned," he said.
De Vera said that while CHED recognizes that the LEB has authority in administering legal education in the Philippines, Republic Act No. 7722 or the Higher Education Act is clear about CHED's powers and duties.
"The grant of authority or equivalency to non-law academic disciplines of degree programs, in this case, basic law degrees, are within the powers and authority of the Commission," he said.
Doctoral degree vs law degree
De Vera said a doctoral degree "is not determined solely by the number of units completed or the number of years in graduate school."
He said that "the rigors of completing a regular doctorate program in any discipline in the Philippines and abroad, including ASEAN countries, are very different from that of a law degree."
"A PhD entails the creation of new knowledge in a field of specialization through a dissertation, which needs to be publicly presented and defended before a panel of PhD holders in a specific field of study. In many cases, it involves publication of one's research in peer-reviewed academic journals to demonstrate contribution to advanced scholarship," De Vera explained.
Following the LEB resolution, De Vera reminded higher education institutions (HEIs) "that in respect to the requirements for offering graduate degrees, the classification of members of the teaching corps of all HEIs, the policies and standards of the CHED prevail."
"Furthermore, with respect to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), guidelines, classifications and promotions are made by their Board of Regents guided by regulations of the CHED, the Civil Service Commission, and the Department of Budget and Management," he added. – Rappler.com