The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has clarified that colleges and universities are not required to delay the opening of its academic year, following the announcement of the Department of Education to move the opening of classes to October 5.
CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said higher education institutions are not covered by the Republic Act No. 11480, which states that the deferment of school opening only applies to all basic education schools, including K-12.
“The operative law that covers the opening of classes in HEIs is the CHED law or the Republic Act No. 7722 which allows colleges and universities to exercise their academic freedom, such as the opening of classes,” De Vera explained.
According to De Vera, universities open their school year as approved by their board depending on the way they structure their semesters, as well as their level of preparedness amid the pandemic.
However, the CHED chief added that It is not possible for all universities and colleges to open their school year at the same time because their academic calendars are different from each other.
“It is impractical, it cannot be done because the school year structure is determined by individual universities in the exercise of their academic freedom which is a constitutional guarantee for the higher education,” De Vera explained.
The higher education chairman said that what was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force last May is the rolling opening of classes which will also depend on the delivery mode of the HEIs.
“Those universities that will have a full online class, they are allowed to open last June and most of them have already opened their academic year then. While for those who will use a combination of online and offline learning, they can open in August or later,” he said.
“Majority of the universities have already opened their classes this month and there are also HEIs who have announced that they will start their academic year in September and October,” De Vera added.
De Vera also emphasized that there is no need for a new policy to further revise or delay the opening of classes for HEIs as they are already allowed to start any month they are ready.
DepEd announced on Friday that the opening of classes for school year 2020-2021, which was initially scheduled on August 24, will be moved to October 5 as approved by President Duterte.
The department said this was in consideration of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna which are under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until August 18.