CHEd chairman Prospero de Vera

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Monday expressed its willingness to collaborate with maritime schools and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to carry out the reforms recommended by the European Union (EU) that would enable Filipino seafarers to continue working on foreign ships.

The European Commission earlier announced it would continue acknowledging the Philippines’ compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, averting job losses for roughly 50,000 Filipino seafarers.

As he thanked the commission, CHEd chairman Prospero de Vera said the country would carry out the reforms to ensure that the skills of Filipino seafarers meet international standards.

“CHEd is ready to work with Marina and the maritime HEIs (higher education institutions) to fully implement the needed reforms based on the areas identified by the EU in its letter to guarantee that our graduates continue to be hired in international vessels,” De Vera said.

The proposed reforms cover various areas, including the monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training and assessment, competence examination and evaluation, approval of course and program design, the use and accessibility of training facilities and simulators, on-board training, and the issuance, renewal, and registration of certificates and endorsements.

De Vera said the CHEd had been collaborating with Marina to tackle the STCW compliance issues.

He added that curricular reforms, examination and assessment, shipboard training, and capacity-building training efforts were already being carried out.

Additionally, a five-year suspension on the introduction of new maritime programs was enforced to ensure that all maritime schools undergo review before any new programs are added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro