House approves proposed "Philippine Qualifications Framework Act"

The Philippine Qualifications Framework bill is one of the priority measures identified by the LEDAC

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 6572 which seeks to institutionalize the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) that would put in place an integrated system of quality education and training to address the mismatch in jobs and skills and generate employment.

The proposed “PQF Act” was sponsored on the floor by the committee on higher and technical education chaired by Rep. Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay), who is also an author of the bill along with Reps. Sherwin Tugna (Party-list, Cibac), Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon), and Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Jr., (2nd District, Camarines Sur).

Pursuant to the constitutional guarantee for the State to promote the right of all citizens to quality and accessible education at all levels, the bill provides that the State shall establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society.

In recognition of the important role of education and training in national development, the bill declares it is the policy of the State to institutionalize the PQF to encourage lifelong learning of individuals and provide employees specific training standards and qualifications aligned with industry standards.

The State shall also ensure that training and educational institutions comply with specific standards and are accountable for achieving corresponding learning outcomes.

The bill provides for the establishment of a PQF which shall describe the levels of educational qualifications and sets the standards for qualification outcomes.

The PQF shall have the following objectives: support the development and maintenance of pathways and equivalencies which provide access to qualifications and assist people to move easily and readily between the different education and training sectors and between these sectors and the labor market; and align the PQF with international qualifications to support the national and international mobility of workers through increased recognition of the value and comparability of Philippine qualifications.

Furthermore, the bill mandates the establishment of the PQF-National Coordinating Council that will harmonize and promote seamless education and training system.

The PQF-NCC shall be composed of the Secretary of Education as chairperson, and the Secretary of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Chairperson and one representative of the economic sector as members.

Among the powers of the PQF-NCC are: harmonize qualification levels across basic, technical vocational and higher education; rationalize the quality assurance mechanisms in the country’s education; maintain the national registry of qualifications; ensure the international alignment of the PQF with the qualification frameworks of other countries or regions; and represent the country in international fora or negotiations in line with qualifications agreements or arrangements.

The bill requires the DepEd, TESDA, and the CHED to make detailed description for each qualification level based on learning standards in basic education, competency standards of training regulations and the policy standards of higher education academic programs. The DOLE shall provide the pertinent labor market information on the highly in-demand and emerging occupations as bases for prioritization.

The bill mandates the PRC and the CHED to review the framework and contents of licensure examinations of each of the professions and align them with the PQF.

It also mandates the PRC, DOLE, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and other related agencies to extend the necessary support and relevant inputs towards the effective implementation of the PQF.

Other authors of the bill are Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, Reps. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Juan Pablo Bondoc, Ramon Durano, Mark Go, Mercedes Cagas, Pablo Ortega and Feder