CHED lifts moratorium on maritime courses, sees industry as economic niche » Manila Bulletin News

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By Merlina Hernando-Malipot 

After more than two decades, the moratorium on the operation of new Bachelor of Science in Maritime Transportation (BSMT) and Bachelor of Science in Maritime Engineering (BSMarE) Programs was lifted by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), effective next academic year.

In CHED Memorandum No. 71 series of 2017 dated September 6, Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said “after a long moratorium,” CHED is finally lifting the moratorium on these programs starting Academic Year (AY) 2018-2019.

Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The lifting of the moratorium on the programs is based on the CHED en Banc Resolution dated August 29, 2017. According to Licuanan, a public hearing on the conditions for the lifting of the moratorium on the operation of new BSMT and BSMarE programs was conducted in 2016.

Licuanan said that in the same year, a resolution was issued approving the lifting of the moratorium under “strict conditions” in 2018 – or two years after the public hearing on the draft policy – “in response to the concerns of existing higher education institutions.”

CHED noted that in 1988, then Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) Bureau of Higher Education – the precursor of the CHED before it was created in 1994 – listed 57 HEIs operating with maritime degree programs. However, from 1991 to 1994, “the number of such institutions ballooned to 120” which resulted in the proliferation of maritime higher education institutions and programs of “highly uneven quality.”

With this, the newly-created CHED in 1995 issued CMO no. 2 that set the implementing guidelines for the opening of new programs – exempting maritime education together with nursing, medicine and related programs – thus “effectively putting these programs under moratorium.”

“After an unusually long moratorium,” Licuanan said that “CHED is finally impelled to lift the moratorium starting AY 2018-2019” in the light of some considerations she cited such as seeing the maritime industry as a “potential niche of the Philippine economy.”

Other considerations in lifting the moratoriums include recognition of  the “Philippines as a provider of a significant number of officers to the merchant marine fleet;” the forecast of the 2015 Baltic International Maritime Council’s (BIMCO) Manpower Report citing the “growth in the world merchant fleet over the next 10 years” and “disclosing  an overall shortage of 92,000 officers in 2010 and 147, 500 officers in 2015;” and the near completion of 2017 reclassification of maritime HEIs.

CHED said that it was also giving due consideration of the position of MHEIs “against the lifting of the moratorium as reflected in the postponement of its lifting to 2018 so as to give existing eligible MHEIs time to ensure their sustained eligibility as well as (to) enable phased out MHEIs with a strong resolve to get back into the league of eligible MHEIs to do so, along with eligible new applicants that will be granted permits to operate based on the criteria” issued by the Commission.

Licuanan noted that the criteria for new applicants issued by CHED are now “more stringent than those applied to previously established MHEIs.”

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