education in the Philippines

Why CHED is halting the senior high school program in SUCs, LUCs

Bonz Magsambol

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Why CHED is halting the senior high school program in SUCs, LUCs

CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III attends the budget hearing of the Commission on Higher Education for fiscal year 2023 at the senate on October 13, 2022. Angie de Silva/Rappler

What triggered this CHED memorandum?

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has ordered state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) to discontinue offering the senior high school program beginning next school year as “there was no legal basis to fund it.”

In a CHED memorandum dated December 18, 2023, the commission said that its engagement with the Department of Education on the implementation of senior high school programs in SUCs and LUCs should only be limited to the K to 12 transition period which was only from school year 2016 to 2017 to school year 2020 to 2021.

“Considering the foregoing, SUC presidents/OICs are directed to bring their respective SUC board of regents and board of trustees the discontinuance of senior high school in SUCs because there is no legal basis to fund the same,” the memorandum read.

How many are affected?

Based on DepEd data, some 17,751 grade 11 students are currently enrolled in SUCs and LUCs.

In a Bagong Pilipinas interview on Wednesday, January 3, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III said that in the past two years, the commission had been telling public universities to “wind down their senior high [enrollment] because there is no more legal basis for their offering of high school [education].”

“Tapos na ang transition period. Puno na ang state universities and colleges. Kailangan na nilang gamitin ang mga kuwarto at mga teacher. Kaya’t wala ng basehan para mag-offer sila ng senior high school,” he said.

(The transition period is over. State universities and colleges are full. They need to use the classrooms and teachers. That’s why there’s no more basis for them to offer senior high school.)

He noted that SUCs should only offer degree courses. De Vera said that SUCs that have “laboratory schools” can still offer the senior high school program since they have been doing this even prior to K to 12. Laboratory schools are those under SUCs that are being used by those pursuing an education degree.

Meanwhile, there are some 2,030,451 grade 12 students currently enrolled in SUCs and LUCs. De Vera said that universities and colleges “should let them finish the academic year.”

“The Department of Education has already issued a notice, through Private Education Assistance Committee, that beginning SY 2023-2024, there should be no more Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education and Teachers in Private Education beneficiaries from SUCs/LUCs, except those who will be entering Grade 12 in SY 2023-2024 to finish their basic education and that SUCS and LUCs with laboratory school can accept enrolled but will no longer receive vouchers,” the CHED memorandum read.

DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said that those who might be displaced have two options next school year: enroll in public schools or enroll in private schools and avail of the voucher program.

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.