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What is the ETEEAP?

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ETEEAP is an acronym for Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program.  It is an alternative education program in the Philippines that allows working professionals, but were either unable to finish their college education or were completely unable to step into college for different reasons, to earn a bachelor’s degree without going through traditional schooling methods.

Under this program, professionals with five or more years of work experience can use the knowledge, experiences, achievements and skills they obtained through their jobs to earn school credits that are then deducted from the total number of units or credits that they are required to earn before they graduate. This way, the more professional experience the ETEEAP students demonstrate, the sooner they can earn their bachelor’s degree.

Legitimacy of the Program

ETEEAP operates by virtue of the Executive Order Number 330 signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos on May 10, 1996. It is currently administered by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) through deputized and qualified colleges and universities who applied to offer the program. It had become part of the academic programs of these institutions and graduates are not treated differently from regular students.

At the moment, this program is only offered to Filipino nationals. However, a few higher learning institutions in the US have adopted this system that they offer to any nationality under the curriculum of the state where the institutions are located.

How does the system work?

Students aiming for a bachelor’s degree through the traditional method usually complete their college or university education in four or five years depending on the curriculum and the number of units or credits they complete per term. Some schools are under the trimester program while a few others are still under the two-semester system. Such may also affect the length of time students spend with the institution until the completion of all their requirements. Under the regular program, students are only allowed a maximum number of units/credits to complete within one term even if they are capable to take up more. Other institutions, especially those that offer regular asynchronous online or distance learning program in their system, have a minimum residency which allows the students who can complete their requirements earlier to enroll on the next term. For instance, one online university allow students between 1 and 8 courses, which is equivalent to between 3 and 25 credits, per term. The maximum length of a term is 98 days and the minimum residency is 50 days.

With the ETEEAP, the basic concept is the same. Deputized institutions normally follow a maximum units or credits per semester. However ETEEAP students are entitled credits upon submission of their application for enrollment which means quicker completion of their degree. In many cases students may gain more than half of all the requirements on their degree upon enrollment which enables them to complete their four-year bachelor’s degree between 6 and 18 months, and a masters degree that normally takes between two and three years can be completed within two or three semesters.

Here is the reason why. While students in regular programs need to complete all the requirements in the curriculum based on the brick-and-mortar standard or traditional way, ETEEAP students’ professional experiences, knowledge, skills, prior education, work experiences and training, awards and achievements relevant to a course or field under the institution’s academic programs are evaluated and used in exchange for academic credits, or in the system called CLCs.

What are CLCs?

CLC is acronym for Classroom Learning Credits. The deputized institutions’ Academic Review Board (ARB) or the equivalent determines the candidates’ knowledge, skills, prior education, experience, awards and achievements relevant to a course or field under their academic programs which the students wish to enroll. Consequently, CLC’s can potentially be awarded for equivalent classroom, laboratory, or workshops normally taken up by regular students. Transfer credits for courses or subjects completed at other colleges or universities (if available) are also awarded using the ETEEAP.  

This unique program uses equivalent competency standards, a comprehensive assessment system and combined assessment methodologies to assess the student’s experiences previous college level education and experience. Based upon this assessment, qualified students are awarded CLCs, which reduces the in-classroom time required for graduation. In the ETEEAP system, all subjects and credits or units that gained CLCs from the students’ credentials are considered complete. Only the remaining courses or subjects that did not have any equivalent in the evaluation process will be enrolled and should be completed in the traditional way. Other schools offer blended or online learning system to complete any requirement that was not awarded CLCs.

Some colleges in the United States as well as few other countries have adopted this system using different terminology and under different names but the same principles. However there is a slight difference in the US. One college that offers the same system under a different name requires that students must complete all classroom assigned “homeworks” in each subject prior to being given credit for any class or program, and all students are required to take comprehensive final exams in each subject for which they received a CLC award. Any courses for which the students were not awarded a CLC will be completed in the traditional way.

Early History of ETEEAP

During the infancy of this program in the Pre-Internet era, thousands of Filipino professionals who had been working in the different fields of expertise for many years all over the world were able to earn their bachelor’s degrees through semi-blended learning. Candidates initially had to attend to their classes on campus to complete the subjects that were not awarded CLCs. However, some of the deputized institutions had to send their professors to the countries where a number of students needed to enroll to the program as their employers won’t allow them to go back home to complete their requirements. The employers were willing to pay for all the expenses of sending the professors to where the students were than losing revenues in allowing their employees to take a few months’ leave to complete their academics requirements. Many of these students attended their graduation at the university along with other regular and fellow ETEEAP students later when they had the chance to go home on holidays.

With the advent of the Internet and the emergence of distance learning methods, software and systems, most ETEEAP-deputized colleges and universities offer the program online, so anyone can take their courses from anywhere in the world as long as they have a computer and access to the Internet.

Are there graduate programs offered through ETEEAP?

The ETEEAP was introduced to initially offer undergraduate programs (bachelors degree). But some deputized institutions applied to offer graduate programs with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and were granted.

One of these is the Baguio Central University (BCU). Besides the undergraduate and graduate programs that they offer in their traditional system, they also offer these in the ETEEAP through blended and online learning to complete the subjects that did not earn any CLCs.

Update: In December 2021, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) stopped deputizing HEI’s for graduate programs with the CMO#29-s2021.

In what ways ETEEAP is beneficial?

There are more than 10 million Filipinos working in almost all countries all over the world. Many of these were not able to complete their college or university degree while some have completed their undergraduate requirements, but as they continue to gain experiences in the field of their employment and have to take up or about to be assigned to supervisory positions, the issue of academic qualifications started to come up. This requires them to go back to school or to take up additional training and courses to entitle them the needed credits that qualify them to higher job positions and promotions. Most countries and institutions require their employees to reach a certain academic level to be qualified in a job position. However the experiences they had gained in their workplace throughout the years weigh much more than the qualifications of new graduates on a piece of paper in their hands as their only credentials. This is the huge gap that needed to be filled up and the ETEEAP has been evolving to solve this problem. Thanks to all the institutions and people who continue to support this program. And many thanks to the Philippine government that spearheaded this system.

Deputized institutions

As for the CHED deputized schools, colleges and universities, we are preparing a page where visitors can see the list along with the programs that the institutions offer in their ETEEAP. Some of these schools will also be featured in this site, and one aforementioned university, BCU, will have the first opportunity. You can see them on the footer below as they come. Schools who want to be featured may also contact us for details.

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