General & Misc

House passes Transnational Higher Education Bill

Date: 02 January 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: House of Representatives

The House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill 8682 or the proposed "Transnational Higher Education Act" which seeks to expand the access to educational services by establishing and administering a transnational higher education.

As defined in the measure, transnational higher education (TNHE) includes all modes of delivery of higher education study programs, including distance education and study-abroad programs, which involve education systems of another country different from the State the TNHE operates.

The bill declares it is the State policy to provide quality education relevant to the changing needs of the people and the society. Thus, higher education shall serve as an instrument to generate productive knowledge, innovation, and technology necessary to compete in the knowledge economy.

It also recognizes that rapid developments, brought about by globalization, have created a trend for borderless teaching and learning. Among these advancements are liberalization of trade, as well as the expanding use of information and communication technologies.

HB 8682, principally authored by Rep. Johnny Ty Pimentel (2nd District, Surigao del Sur), aims to modernize the higher education sector, bring in international quality standards, and make higher education in the country globally competitive.

The bill also aims to reinforce educational, cultural, social, economic, and political bonds between the Philippines and foreign institutions of higher learning. With this, it shall foster cultural exchanges that will help strengthen the relations among the countries involved.

The bill mandates the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to formulate a coherent national strategy to encourage and facilitate the establishment of the most effective TNHE programs and institutions.

Foreign higher education institutions (FHEI) may establish commercial presence or engage in the business of providing educational services in the country through various modes or arrangements with a Philippine HEI, which are consistent with the Constitution.

The measure provides that various types or modes of TNHE programs shall include the following: (a) Academic Franchising, wherein a higher education institution (HEI) grants another institution from another country to provide the HEI's programs, (b) Branch Campus, which is an HEI of another country established in the Philippines, (c) Joint Degree, which is a program jointly developed, delivered, and assessed by two or more institutions, (d) Online, Blended, and Distance Learning, which may be delivered online, by post, or mobile phone, (e) Twinning Arrangement, wherein students study for a degree in two countries, and (f) Validation, wherein the main HEI awards a degree to students who completed a program in its partner HEI in another country, among others.

The bill further provides that 60 percent of these branch campuses established by FHEIs through local partners shall be owned by Filipino citizens. Branch campuses in the country shall also be duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Through this bill, the Transnational Higher Education Division (TNHED) shall be established under the International Affairs Service of the CHED. It shall coordinate with the Technical Committee for Transnational Education and the Technical Panel for Open Distance Learning of the CHED.

The TNHED shall undertake the following functions: (a) formulate policies, standards, and guidelines in the operation of programs; (b) formulate strategies and mechanisms for the implementation of these programs in the country; (c) accept, evaluate, and process all applications of TNHEIs for authority to operate; and (d) review and evaluate the performance of TNHEIs to ensure compliance, among others.

The measure also provides that all revenues, assets, lands, buildings, and improvements actually, directly, and exclusively utilized by non-stock and non-profit TNHEIs for educational purposes shall be exempted from taxes and duties.

Co-authors of the bill are Reps. Ron Salo (Party-list, KABAYAN) and Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay).

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