Lawmaker: SUCs may continue to offer senior high school

House Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan said Tuesday state universities and colleges (SUCs) can still continue offering senior high school if they want to, and Congress retains the prerogative to provide appropriations for them on a case-to-case basis.

Libanan made the statement after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) issued a memorandum ordering SUCs and local universities and colleges (LUCs) to discontinue offering the senior high school (SHS) program as the K to 12 transition already ended, which is part of the legal basis for them to accept SHS students.

Libanan said many SUCs are already considered autonomous institutions that exercise independent control over their academic programs.

“There are also SUCs, particularly those in the provinces, that might deem it necessary to have their own ‘feeder’ SHS programs to supply them with high school graduates for specific college courses,” Libanan said.

He said CHED should have a well-defined roadmap with respect to the SHS programs of SUCs. “They should have drawn up a clear roadmap defining the desired outcome and outlining the steps needed to get there,” he added.

CHED chair J. Prospero de Vera III said the memorandum on the discontinuance of SHS program in SUCs and LUCs, which was released on December 18, 2023, is not abrupt or arbitrary because the academic year 2023 to 2024 is still ongoing and no displacement of students has occurred yet. He said the discontinuance of SHS offerings in SUCs and LUCs has been ongoing for three years now.

The CHED and the DepEd had an agreement that public universities can offer senior high school program during the transition period and the students are subsidized through the voucher program, and since the transition period is over, public universities and colleges now need to use their classrooms and teachers. Hence, there is no longer legal basis for the agreement between the CHED and the DepEd.

DepEd’s database indicates that todate, there are about 17,700 Grade 11 learners currently enrolled in  SUCs and LUCs across the country.