By Alexandria San Juan
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said that universities and colleges already implementing a flexible mode of learning may start their next academic year in August or even earlier.
“Ang patakaran ng komisyon, doon sa mga pamantasan na kayang mag-flexible learning, pwede na silang magbukas ng Agosto. In fact, pwedeng magbukas ng mas maaga kung purely online na sila (The commission’s policy is that those universities already implementing flexible learning will be allowed to resume classes in August. In fact, they can open earlier, but only purely online classes),” CHED chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said in an interview.
According to De Vera, schools that have shifted into full-online learning mode will not have a problem during the enhanced community quarantine as students and teachers do not need face-to-face meetings.
The Higher Education chief, however, said that colleges and universities who are not yet implementing flexible learning mode and would require classes in classrooms might have to open later this year as the COVID-19 situation remains uncertain at this time.
“Medyo mahihirapan ‘yung mga pamantasan na kailangan ay may mga estudyante pa rin na pupunta sa classroom. Dapat magbukas sila later, either September or October or depende sa sitwasyon sa ground level (Schools and universities that would require students to go to the classroom should open their classes later, either September or October or depending on the situation),” De Vera added.
The CHED chairman also told school officials to be prepared to keep up with the “new normal” by strictly complying with requirements and protocols set by health authorities once the classes open.
“Dapat ay compliant na sa mga health requirements at may consultation sa mga health government unit. Ang takot kasi ng marami, pagdating ng next semester ay regular classroom pa rin ang learning. Siyempre nakakatakot ‘yan kasi kung lahat ay babalik sa eskwelahan magkakaroon ng posibilidad na mag-surge ulit [ang cases] (They must be compliant with the health requirements and consult with health government units before the opening of the new academic year. Most people fear that learning will still be in a regular classroom set-up as the next semester approaches. Of course, it’s frightening because cases might surge again),” he explained.
De Vera added that the Commission is helping universities and colleges strengthen their capabilities to implement flexible learning by August.
He also clarified that flexible learning is not equivalent to online learning alone but also employs other methods to deliver lessons to students without internet connectivity such as take-home learning packets and activities to be submitted upon lifting of the quarantine.
Classes in all levels in Luzon have been canceled since it was placed on lockdown in mid-March to prevent possible exposure of students to the virus and to contain the spread of the disease.