News Release

PBBM on PH higher education: Significant progress but much work still to be done

While acknowledging the stellar showing of the country’s higher educational institutions in various world university rankings, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday cited the need to improve the country’s academic performance.

In his speech during the National Higher Education Day Summit (NHEDS) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, President Marcos recognized the significant increase in the number of higher educational institutions (HEIs) that were included in world university rankings.

At least 81 HEIs were included in various world university ranking, which is higher than the 52 in July 2023.

There were 1,977 HEIs in the Philippines as of January 4, 2024. Of the figure, 113 are state universities and colleges (SUCs); 137 local universities and colleges (LUCs); 1,714 private HEIs; and 13 other government schools (OGS), CHED-supervised institutions, and special schools.

“However, we must acknowledge that in the recent Times Higher Education’s 2024 Asia University Rankings, unfortunately, no Philippine university has reached Top 100, with the country’s top schools either dropping or maintaining their rankings,” President Marcos said.

“This just goes to show that much work is still to be done. We must pursue a comprehensive and all-encompassing strategy that will turn this trend around. The state of our education today shapes the future of the nation,” he added.

President Marcos said the future of today’s generation largely depends on the quality of higher education system that the present leadership could provide where the young are armed with the right skills to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

“Giving the youth the right competencies and skills and training is the only way for them to prevail, and to prosper, in this highly competitive world. Our greatest obligation to them is to mold them into critical thinkers, into problem solvers, into visionaries, wielding the skills that will allow them to succeed in the future,” Marcos said.

“Without an educated workforce that will implement them, any national economic blueprints will remain simply as that — blueprints. We will not have the means or the capacity or the labor force to be able to make those plans a reality,” he added.

“Without skilled manpower who will run them, industries will grind to a halt, social services will cease to function. Without a national pool of talent who can master new technologies and adjust quickly to tectonic changes, the country will be perpetually catching up, left behind by societies whose educational system has been made more adept,” he noted.

President Marcos is the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the NHEDS.

The NHEDS is the first summit of its kind to be held in observance of the 4th National Higher Education Day (NHED) and 30th Founding Anniversary of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) created on May 18, 1994 through Republic Act 7722, or the Higher Education Act of 1994.

The CHED was created to promote relevant and quality higher education, ensure its accessibility, and protect academic freedom in the Philippines, among other functions.

In 2021, the Republic Act No. 11522 declared May 18 of every year as the NHED to commemorate CHED’s founding anniversary. “Access, Quality, and Competitiveness at the Core of Higher Education Reforms” is the theme for this year’s NHED. PND