The Dynamics of Decentralization of Higher Education Delivery and Local Politics in the Philippines: The Case of Two Mandaue City Colleges in Cebu Province

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Author: Ronald A. Pernia, University of the Philippines Cebu, Philippines
Email: rapernia1@up.edu.ph
Published: September 1, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.5.2.04

Citation: Pernia, R. A. (2017). The Dynamics of Decentralization of Higher Education Delivery and Local Politics in the Philippines: The Case of Two Mandaue City Colleges in Cebu Province. IAFOR Journal of Education, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.5.2.04


Abstract

This study explores how the decentralization law of 1991 in the Philippines has provided the conditions for the interface of higher education and politics by virtue of Local Government Units (LGUs) establishment of Local Colleges and Universities (LCUs). Anchored on educational politics framework, it specifically looks at the experience of Mandaue City which presently has two similarly named local colleges, one is Commission on Higher Education accredited and LGU supported, while the other has been deemed to have “no legal personality” but has persisted to operate nonetheless. This would create a conflict of legitimacy and later on manifest issues and challenges naturally beyond the immediate domain of education, but one that must be harnessed constructively given the realities of Philippine politics i.e. power struggle and political dynamics. The democratic opening engendered by the decentralization law to allow LGUs to establish post-secondary schools are beset with growing political tensions and contestations. Yet, there were also narratives and evidence of positive impact brought about by the decentralization of higher education. Using key informant interviews, focus group discussion and document reviews, this study contends that public educational ventures such as LCUs serve as a microcosm of the larger problem in Philippine higher education: improved access to higher education, but quality is deteriorating. As such, this study hopes to suggest several policy directions and practical considerations for national governments vis-à-vis the LGUs role as enabler and/or regulator of higher education.

Keywords

Philippines, local colleges and universities, local government units, commission on higher education, decentralization, politics of education