PAASCU Refuses CHED’s Two-Million-Peso OfferYesterday was Holy Innocents’ Day.Yesterday, I tweeted, “PAASCU refuses two-million-peso offer from CHED to re-align its accreditation instruments according to CMO 46 s. ’12.”My friend, Isagani Cruz, the distinguished educator, tweeted in response: “This isnot a Holy Innocents Day joke, is it?”I assured him it was not.Soon after Christmas, after Chairman Patricia Licuanan thought that she had shutdown discussion on Outcomes- and Typology-based Quality Assurancepresumably with the CHED en banc approval of CMO 46, s. 2012 (“presumably”because the uploaded version only carries the signature of Chairperson Licuanan),PAASCU received a an original copy of a Memorandum of Agreement alreadysigned by Atty. Julito D. Vitriolo, Executive Director of CHED, and PatriciaLicuanan, Chairperson, CHED, with an urgent message that the Executive Directorof PAASCU and I as the PAASCU President sign it immediately.I refuse to sign it.In short, the MoA reads: “….WHEREAS, CHED wish (sic) to provide incentivesand support to accreditation bodies in their effort to shift to outcomes-basedevaluation and the harmonization of their criteria…
“NOW THEREFORE for and in consideration of the foregoing premises, theparties hereto hereby agree as follows:1. CHED shall (1.1) provide funding assistance to PAASCU amounting to TwoMillion Pesos to revise their instruments for program and institutional accreditationin line with outcome-based quality assurance and harmonize their criteria andmeasures with those of the other accreditation agencies.2. PAASCU shall (2.1) Utilize the finds provided by CHED for the purposeindicated in Sec. 1 item 1.1 [as quoted in the previous paragraph] subject to theusual accounting and auditing rules and regulations. (2.2) Submit accreditationinstruments to CHED.”Last Nov. 23, 2012, the General Assembly of PAASCU formally requested CHEDto postpone its approval of Outcomes-Based and Typology-Based QualityAssurance. On the one hand, this was because the PAASCU members wish tofocus their energies on the implementation of K-12. On the other hand, it wasbecause it continued to see serious flaws in the proposed QA program.CHED’s response was first to approve CMO 46, 2012 on December 11, 2012, thento write me a letter purporting to explain why its approval cannot be postponed. Its“reasoning” is for the books: “CHED is forced by many imperatives to pursue aniterative reform process that begins with an imperfect plan. Such imperfection maylead to errors but correcting them might also lead serendipitously to unanticipatedsolutions that would not have been discovered had the mistakes not been made”(Letter of Licuanan to Tabora, 12 December 2012).
PAASCU knows however that such “imperfections” may lead to irreparabledamage. Many hard won gains grown over the years can be lost to poor policypowerfully enforced. It is disappointed that CHED, serving higher education, chosenot to continue discussion of the imperfect plan to further perfect it to thesatisfaction of all serious stakeholders, but instead chose to approve it with in itsadmitted imperfection – and now mystifies it with an appeal to serendipity.The proposed MoA that CHED sent PAASCU is on the mistaken presumption (inlegalese, on the mistaken WHEREAS) that PAASCU wishes to shift to “outcomesbased evaluation…” In Dr. Licuanan’s letter to me, she states that PAASCU hadinformed her in a meeting of October 12 that PAASCU, along with all theaccrediting organizations, had informed CHED that it was “making the shift” tooutcomes-based accreditation. This is not true. At that meeting, I expresslyreiterated my request as PAASCU President that the approval of the program bepostponed. PAASCU has continued to assert that outcomes-based qualityassurance is untenable. Its objections have never been satisfactorily answered.With the approval of CMO 46, s. 2012, CHED has closed its eyes to theimperfections of outcomes-based quality assurance. After all, with the invisiblehand of Serendipity, all will turn out for the better, it “thinks.” Meanwhile, CHEDhas approved a government regulatory program of outcomes- and typology basedquality assurance on higher education that seriously offends against academicfreedom.For 55 years, PAASCU has served quality assurance through accreditation throughsystems and instruments proven to be of educational value. The dedicated work of
the distinguished educators who make PAASCU effective has always beenvoluntary. Were PAASCU convinced it needs to change its instruments ofevaluation to outcomes-based accreditation, it would do so voluntarily. Itsincentive would be the service of education in the Philippines. Not “Two MillionPesos.”CHED’s proposal is not a joke. Neither is it innocent. It wants everyone to tow theline. Even if it is crooked.