Under Article XIV of the Constitution of the Philippines specifically under Sec. 1 states that “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.” This means that every citizen whether at Level 1, 2 or 3 shall be entitled to quality education and that the government should take actions to ensure that this right from the constitution that is granted to the citizen will not be infringed and that quality education will be provided and accessible to all.
To ensure that quality education is given to the citizens of the Philippines, the government had vested its powers to different administrative agency to make sure that this right granted to the citizens will not be infringed. The Department of Education for Culture and Sports (DECS) is an example of an administrative agency that was created to ensure that quality education is given to the citizens at all levels. In 1994, the commission on Higher Education (CHED) was created to govern mainly the higher education or otherwise known as the tertiary education.
The Commission is a body independent and separate from the DECS, and attached to the Office of the President for administrative purposes only. Its coverage shall be both public and private institutions of higher education as well as degree-granting programs in all post secondary educational institutions, public and private.
As a Commission created to govern the higher education, it follows the mission of “gearing higher education towards the pursuit of better quality of life for all Filipinos by emphasizing the acquisition of knowledge and formation of those skills necessary to make individual a productive member of society. It shall accelerate the development of high-level professionals who will search for new knowledge, and provide leadership in the various disciplines required by a dynamic and self assuring economy.” In short, the mission of the CHED is what is stated in Sec. 1 of Article XIV of the constitution, which is to provide quality education to the citizens and make education accessible to the citizens.
In Sec. 2 of RA 7722, the same is mentioned. The state shall protect, foster, promote the right of all citizens to affordable quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to ensure that education shall be accessible to all. The State shall likewise ensure and protect academic freedom and shall promote its exercise and observance for the continuing intellectual growth, the advancement of learning and research, the development of responsible and effective leadership, the education of high-level and middle-level professionals and the enrichment of our historical and cultural heritage.
State-supported institutions of higher learning shall gear their programs to national, regional or local development plans. Finally, all institutions of higher learning shall exemplify through their physical and natural surrounding the dignity and beauty of as well as their pride in, the intellectual and scholarly life.
In short, the main mission or goal of the CHED is what is stated in Sec 1 of Article XIV of the constitution, which is to provide quality education to the public and to ensure its accessibility to all.
Moreover, to achieve Sec. 2 of RA 7722, which is to ensure quality and accessible education, powers are granted to the CHED. Some powers which are obtained transitory from the DECS, meaning the powers of DECS in governing tertiary education are transferred to the CHED. This is in Sec. 18 of RA 7722. Such personnel, properties, assets and liabilities, functions and responsibilities of the Bureau of Higher education, including those for higher and tertiary education and degree-granting vocational and technical programs in the regional offices, under the DECS and other government entities having function similar to those of the Commission are herby transferred to the Commission. From this it is established that the powers that were once granted to DECS in governing the tertiary education are hereby transferred to the CHED.
To ensure accessibility of education, one of the most prominent factor will be the tuition fee. The rate at which the tuition fee is established will determine the accessibility of the school, thereby to ensure accessibility for students, tuitions fees should be regulated by the CHED.
To be able to regulate the increase of tuition the implementation of the rules and regulation of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 451 was issued. This was to govern increase in tuition fee and other school charges of private schools beginning the school year 1975-1976. Under Sec. 2 of PD 451 “The Secretary of Education and culture has the authority to regulate on any increase or change in the rates of tuition fee and other school charges collected from students or their parents by all private schools. Any increase or change in the approved rates, including new tuition fee and/or other school charges, of private schools shall not be effective without the prior approval of the Secretary of Education and Culture. Any violation shall be considered unlawful and subject to the penal provision of the law.”
Moreover, in the implementation of RA 8292 or otherwise known as the Higher Modernization Act of 1997, which is an act providing for the uniform composition and powers of the governing boards, the manner of appointment term of office of the president of chartered state universities and colleges and for other purposes. In pursuant to Sec. 4 of RA 8292, which is “the governing board shall have the following specific powers and duties in addition to its general powers of administration and the exercise of all the powers granted to the board of directors under Sec. 36 of BP Blg. 68, otherwise known as the Corporation Code of the Philippines.”
Furthermore, under paragraph A of Sec. 4 the government board “can enact rules and regulations not contrary to law as my be necessary to carry out the purposes and functions of the university or college”. Also Paragraph E of Sec. 4 which specifies that the government board shall “adopt and implement a socialized scheme of tuition and school fees for greater access to poor but deserving students.”
II. Definition of Terms
a.) Tuition Fee- covers the school charge for the course or subjects enrolled in by students as indicated in the respective prospectuses, bulletins of information, or catalogues of private schools, which may either be paid on a monthly, semestral, or yearly basis, or per unit or units.
b.) Other school fees- include all miscellaneous fees charged for certain specific services rendered by private schools to students, which may be paid either on a monthly semestral, or yearly basis, as embodied in their respective prospectuses bulletins of information, or catalogues, which are collected and earmarked for the specific purposes intended pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.
c.) Current school Fees- means the tuition fee and other school charges of a private school as approved bye the secretary of education and culture.
d.) Increase in Fees-means any addiction in the amount of the current tuition fee or other school charges as defined in sub-sections a, b and c herein.
e.) New Fee or Charge- means those which are imposed by new school or by existing schools, which are not included in their previously approved rates of school fees.
f.) Private school-includes all private education institutions duly authorized to operate any course by the secretary of education and culture
g.) Student- refers to all enrollees in all level in a private school
h.) School Administration- includes all departments offices, or units of a private school.
III. Research Problem
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) enacted an order which prohibited tuition fee increase by private colleges and universities for the next school year 2001-2002. The Order of the CHED was based on the financial difficulty being experienced by many parents in sending their children to private schools. A group of private colleges questioned the order with respect to tuition fee, or its increases for that matter. CHED maintains that with the Higher Education Act of 1995 all functions and powers previously exercised by the DECS for higher education had been transferred to it.
The research problem is very clearly stated, it is to find out whether the order of prohibiting the increase of tuition was valid and whether the CHED did have the power as previously exercised by the DECS.
IV. Research Procedures
Upon the receiving the situation for the problem, the author immediately read the problem. Upon reading the problem, the author carefully analyzed the problem and started to take down keywords which could help the author in his search. Also, the author tried to identify what the main issues are, to be able to determine the direction of where the research is going.
After carefully analyzing the problem, the author wrote down all the possible keywords that can be used in the search. The author first visited the library of De La Salle University. Upon entering the library the author directly went to the second floor and search the Lex Libris, and the Phil. Juris. The author entered the keywords in the Lex law to be able to determine what powers the CHED had and this is how the author knew of RA 7722 which is known as the Higher Education Act. The author immediately followed his search on the Jurisprudence and hence found some cases that are related to the topic.
Wanting for more information the author followed up his search in the internet. The author search from www.googles.com and was successful in finding many secondary resources regarding the higher education or the tertiary education. As well, the author was able to find RA 8292 which is another relevant act to the research and is known as the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997.
The problems encountered in the search was the lack of resources available regarding the CHED. The CHED being enacted just 1994 made it impossible to find sufficient resources in the library as the author found that the resources available in the library was mostly outdated and does not cover the new provisions provided for the CHED. Fortunately, because of the internet the author was able to find the sufficient resources needed and will be able to start writing the paper.
V. Statement of Issues
The main issue of this case is whether or not the order to prohibit the increase of tuition fee by the Commission on Higher Education is valid.
However, before the main issue will be resolved, it must first be shown whether or not the power on Higher Education of the Department of Education for Culture and Sports was indeed transferred to the Commission of Higher Education and thus giving CHED the authority to regulate tuition fees.
VI. Discussion of Issues
A. Whether or not the power on Higher Education of the Department of Education for Culture and Sports was indeed transferred to the Commission of Higher Education.
In determining whether the power of DECS on governing tertiary education was indeed transferred to the CHED, the provisions on RA 7722 should be closely examined.
It is important that this issue be established because this will determine whether CHED has the power to issue such order and later on, allow to determine whether the order was indeed valid.
In examining the provisions of RA 7722 specifically SEC. 18, there was indeed the transfer of power from the DECS to the CHED in governing the tertiary education. Sec. 18 is as follow:
Transitory Provisions- Such personnel, properties, assets, and liabilities, functions and responsibilities of the Bureau of Higher Education, including those for higher and tertiary education and degree-granting vocational and technical programs in the regional offices, under the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, and other government entities having functions similar to those of the Commission are hereby transferred to the Commission.
The Commission shall have the authority to appoint its own personnel.
All regular or permanent employees transferred to the Commission shall not suffer any loss of seniority or rank or decrease in emoluments. Personnel of the Bureau of Higher Education not otherwise transferred to the Commission shall be reassigned by the DECS in any of its office and bureaus: Provided, however, That, any employee who cannot be accommodated shall be given all the benefits as may be provided under existing laws, rules and regulations
Jurisdiction over DECS-supervised or chartered state-supported post-secondary degree-granting vocational and technical programs and tertiary institutions shall be transferred to the Commission.
In the Section excerpted above, it is basically discussing the powers that are being transferred to the CHED by the DECS. It specifically states that the governing power of DECS on tertiary education will be transferred to the CHED thereby giving the CHED the same power as the DECS had on the tertiary education or Higher education.
Furthermore, the section enumerates the delegation of the worker due to the enactment on CHED. The provisions clearly specify rules and regulations in favor of the workers and that in cases they are not transferred to the CHED, they shall maintain with the DECS without losing their seniority rights.
From Section 18 of RA 7722 alone it is established that powers from the DECS were transferred to the CHED, thus giving the CHED the power to act, and implement rules and regulations.
B. Whether or not the order to prohibit the increase of tuition fee by the Commission on Higher Education is valid.
Now that it is established that the power of DECS was indeed transferred to the CHED. It is clear that CHED will have all the power to govern the higher education or the tertiary education. However, the issue whether the order to prohibit the increase of tuition fee is valid, still remains.
To determine whether the order issued is valid or invalid, the author researched on the law governing the powers of the Secretary of Education, and as well researched on Jurisprudence that dealt with question of the validity of the order of the Secretary of Education.
In the search for the laws governing the power of the Secretary of Education, the researcher found two laws that gave the Secretary of Education the authority to regulate the increase on tuition fees. The first law being from SEC. 2 of PD No. 451. “The Secretary of Education and Culture has the authority to regulate any increase or change in the rate of tuitions and or other school fees or charges collected from pupils or students and/or their parents by all private schools, colleges, and universities”
Also in SEC. 57 and 70 of Batasang Pambansa Blg. 232 or otherwise known as the Education Act of 1982 the same is mentioned. In Sec. 57 paragraph 3 it states that “the Ministry shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the administrations, supervision and regulation of the educations system in accordance with declared party.” And Sec. 70 states “The Minister of Educatoin and Culture, charged with the administration and enforcement of this Act, shall promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulation.”
From the provisions stated above namely Sec. 2 of PD No. 451, SEC 57 (3) and SEC 70 of BP No. 232, the secretary of education which in this case is the CHED is given the authority to indeed regulate the tuition fee of the higher education, and thus, the order of prohibiting the increase of tuition fee for the school year 2001-2002 is valid.
Furthermore, the author consulted the jurisprudence to be sure that the order given by the CHED is indeed valid. In the case of Jose D. Lina Jr., petitioner, vs Isidro D. Carino in his capacity as Secretary of Education, Culture, and Sports, respondent, where the petitioner was questioning the authority of the secretary of education in his issuance of DECS order No. 30 whereby it outlines the rate of increase in tuition which all schools should follow. The issue was “whether DECS order no. 30 is valid, that is, whether respondent DECS secretary has the legal authority to issue DECS order no. 30 prescribing guidelines concerning increases in tuition and other school fees.”
The court basing the facts on the case of Philippine Consumers Foundation, Inc. vs. the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, maintained that the DECS order No. 30 was indeed valid and thus, should be implemented by the schools. It followed that “since no other government agency was vested with the authority to fix the maximum school fees, that power should be considered with the DECS Secretary.”
With this as a fact on the Jurisprudence of the Philippines, thereby, the Secretary of Education indeed has the authority to regulate the rate of tuition fees of the schools. The secretary of Education in this case being the CHED, as proven in the previous issue that the powers of DECS on the higher Education were transferred to the CHED thereby giving the CHED the power the DECS had before on the higher education.
Needless to say, the order issued by the Commission on Higher Education was valid for the reason that the CHED maintains the power to regulate the tuition fees of the school as provided in sec. 2 of PD no. 451, sec. 57(3) and sec. 70 of BP. Blg. No. 232, and lastly the jurisprudence giving the Secretary of Education the authority to regulate the tuition fees of the schools.
VII. Statement of Position and Conclusions
Having presented all the facts the author holds that the orders issued by the Commission on Higher Education prohibiting the increase of tuition fee for the school year 2001-2002 valid. The order is valid because the Commission on Higher Education had the authority to regulate the rate of tuition fee as prescribed in the Presidential Decree No. 451 and Batasang Pambansa blg. 232.
Moreover, it is prescribed in the constitution that education should be made accessible to all the citizens of the Philippines, and that the state shall ensure that the citizens are given access to a better education. With the order of the CHED in prohibiting the increase of the tuition fee, it was ensured that this right under the constitution is not infringed, as the administrative body of the government took step to ensure that the citizens will not be deprived in access to education by prohibiting the increase of the tuition fees especially at the time when the citizens are having financial difficulty.
Furthermore, in the Higher education modernization act of 1997 it is further specified under section 4 (e) of the act that a socialized scheme in determining the rate of tuition fee. It specifically states that the tuition fee should provide “greater access to the poor”, thus in this case, issuing an order prohibiting the increase of tuition fee for the year 2001-2002 is beneficiary to the poor and will provide them with a greater access as the issue of the CHED was to ensure that education does not become burdensome to parents who experience financial difficulty.
Lastly, the jurisprudence of the Philippines had shown that the authority to issue and order regarding the regulation on the tuition fees rests in the hands of the Secretary of Education which in this case is the CHED. In both cases presented above, the court had affirmed that the Secretary of Educations indeed has the right to regulate the tuition fee of the schools.