COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Patricia Licuanan announced on July 12 the referencing of Philippine educational qualifications with those of other Asean member-states (AMS) will start in 2018.
During the second Asean Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) Committee Meet in Manila, Licuanan said the Philippines is “almost ready” to reference against the AQRF, a regional reference framework which aims to enable the fair comparison and leveling of educational qualifications across participating AMS.
To participate in the AQRF referencing, interested states are to come up with their respective National Qualification Frameworks (NQF), which will be up for submission and review of an established AQRF committee.
The Philippines’s NQF, called the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), was established through Executive Order (EO) 83 in 2012 by then-President Benigno S. Aquino III. EO 83 also created the PQF-National Coordinating Committee (NCC) comprising agencies such as the Department of Education, CHED, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), the Department of Labor and Employment and the Professional Regulation Commission. The PQF-NCC is to oversee the creation and institutionalization of the PQF.
Tesda Deputy Director General for Policies and Planning Dr. Rosanna A. Urdaneta said the Philippines has already submitted to the AQRF committee a letter of intent to participate in the referencing next year, with an already-developed eight-level PQF that is only awaiting institutionalization. Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are the other Asean nations that are ready for referencing with their respective NQFs.
The PQF-NCC believes that participating in the AQRF together with other AMS would pave the way for improved student and worker mobility across Asean nations. With regionally recognized qualifications, Filipino skilled workers would have an easier time landing jobs across seas, at least within the Asean.
“The PQF is a tool for the development of qualifications of Filipino skilled workers and professionals to ensure alignment of educational outcomes to job requirements. Aside from adopting national standards and levels of outcomes of education, it aims to support the development of pathways and equivalences, and to align with international qualifications frameworks to support the mobility of our learners and workers,” Tesda said. Task Force AQRF Vice Chairman Megawati Santoso explained a practical application for the AQRF:
“For instance, if you are a journalist in the Philippines, you are classified under different levels of ability—you could be a junior journalist, a mid-journalist, or a senior journalist. If you reference this using the Philippine Qualifications Framework, you are put, for instance, under Level 6 or Level 7 in Philippine standards. So if you want to apply as a university lecturer in Indonesia, and we require for instance a Level 8 journalist under Indonesian Qualifications Framework (IQF) to be able to teach in the university, the AQRF will serve as a translator or a common reference to reaffirm if Level 7 in PQF is indeed equivalent to Level 8 in IQF. If AQRF confirms such, then you can become a university lecturer in Indonesia,” Santoso said.
However, PQF is not only limited to licensed professionals, or even college graduates. As a matter of fact, only levels 6, 7 and 8 require higher-education level credentials: baccalaureate level, post-baccalaureate level and doctoral/postdoctoral level, respectively. For Levels 1 through 5, a Tesda-issued National Certificate (NC) in its matching level suffices: NC I for PQF Level 1, NC II for PQF Level 2 and so on, up to a diploma in skills training for PQF Level 5.