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CHED says more personnel needed to monitor maritime schools

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Prospero de Vera III on Tuesday said more personnel are needed to monitor maritime institutions across the country.

De Vera made the comment as he said there is continuous evaluation of maritime schools to check if they are compliant with standards following the European Union (EU's) recognition of the certificates for seafarers issued by the Philippines.

"Kailangan namin dagdag na tao kasi marami. That's why kami ni Secretary Bautista will have to look for additional allies to help monitor compliance kasi hindi naman ganoon kadami ang staff ng CHED. Hindi rin gano'n kadami ang staff ng MARINA," de Vera said at a Palace briefing.

(We need to add more people because there are many [maritime institutions that have to be monitored]. [Transport] Secretary [Jaime] Bautista and I will have to look for additional allies to help monitor compliance because CHED does not have much staff. The staff of MARINA is also not that big.)

De Vera mentioned that the government already shut down 15 maritime programs for being non-compliant with the standards.

"We closed down 15 maritime programs already. If it's true that everyone is compliant with standards, then we should not have been able to close 15 maritime programs," the CHED chairperson said.

"We're very strict. The technical panel and our technical evaluators have gone through the program and we closed 15 over the past year and a half. So there are programs that are non-compliant," he added.

The CHED earlier said it is ready to coordinate with maritime schools and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to enforce reforms suggested by the EU to ensure that Filipino seafarers can continue to work on foreign vessels.

De Vera reiterated that a five-year moratorium on the opening of new maritime programs was imposed to make sure the review of all maritime schools can be undertaken before adding new ones.

For his part, MARINA administrator Hernani Fabia said there are still issues which need to be attended to despite the EU's recognition of the certificates.

Fabia said these include matters on supervision of manning and training, assessment of competence, as well as design and approval availability, among others. —KG, GMA Integrated News