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Commemorating its 27th year since founding in 1994, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) celebrated in double with the declaration of May 18 as the first National Higher Education Day, by virtue of Republic Act 11522.
 
With the theme, “PADYAK! (Pamantasan: Pandayan Tungo sa Kaunlaran) Moving Forward by Claiming Victory for Philippine Higher Education”, CHED commenced a week-long of regional events across the country since May 17-22, 2021.
In his welcoming remarks during the event’s culmination, Dr. Maximo C. Aljibe, CHED Regional Director for Region VII, stated that the event is “certainly one of those spotlighted moments” as stakeholders in the higher education, adding that it deserves a “grand” celebration.
 
Days before the closing ceremony, webinars for various topics like research and innovations, Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) accreditation, and internationalization were held.
 
TES grantees gathering
In connection with the first National Higher Education Day, a number of Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) beneficiaries from various universities and colleges in Region VII gathered in Cebu Normal University (CNU) on May 18, Tuesday.
 
The ceremony was spearheaded by CHED Chairman and Unified Student Financial Assistance for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) Board Chairman Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III, CHED Regional Director Dr, Maximo Aljibe, CHED Officer-In-Charge – Executive Director for UNIFAST Atty. Ryan L. Estevez, and the focal persons of the respective academic institutions in Cebu.
In his speech, Estevez explained the additional benefits provided to TES grantees following de Vera’s approval on a memorandum earlier this year which gives recipients additional grants for Persons With Disabilities (PWD) students and students who will be taking licensure exams.
 
“Pag ikaw ay TES grantee at ikaw ay PWD, makakatanggap ka pa ng additional 30,000 pesos … on top of your 40,000 or 60,000 [pesos] sa private school. [Ang mga estudyante] na magti-take ng licensure exam for teachers, makaka-receive kayo ng 10,000 pesos,” he declared.
 
Subsequently, de Vera guaranteed that the students will persist as grantees so long as they remained their good standing in class and emphasized the role of the youth in the important changes in the nation.
“Huwag kayong maniniwala na wala kayong papel sa Pilipinas ngayon dahil lahat ng mabibigat na pagbabago sa kasaysayan, kabataan ang gumawa,” he stated.
At the conclusion of the event, the ceremonial giving of TES grants to its grantees was commenced and participated by a few recipients and forepersons from CNU, Cebu Technological University (CTU), Mandaue City College, Cordova Public College, Consolacion Community College, Talisay City College, and Carcar City College.
 
Recognition, ‘Gawad Parangal’
For figures who travelled an extra mile and helped in setting a new benchmark of excellence, CHED has given recognition to different performing higher education institutions and individual collaborators last May 22, 2021.
 
Severalplaques of gratitude were also handed to key personalities who have been passionate in the name of service to the country’s higher education sector.
 
Among the Service Loyalty Awardees were Virginia O. Dela Cerna, Education Supervisor II, CHED RO VII; Atty. Augusto W. Go, President of University of Cebu; Atty. Paulino A. Yabao, President of University of Southern Philippines Foundation; Atty. Liza D. Corro, President of University of the Philippines-Cebu; and Dr. John Henry R. Caballero, President of CTU – Graduate Schools Student Organization Incorporated.
In one of the responses from the awardee, Go remarked that life’s greatest equalizer is education, continuing, “The award doesn’t belong to me, they belong to the help, to my people, to the staff.”
CNU President Dr. Filomena T. Dayagbil ended the event with her closing remarks, which centered on claiming victories for continuing learning by adapting to flexible learning delivery and for the collaboration and partnership that enabled higher education to thrive, lead, and serve in the new normal.
 
Words by Mark Aleson Sanico, Mikaela Jane Dagani, and Jhonazel Kiskis
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