To help ensure that education services and processes will not be further delayed and disrupted, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Tuesday, May 18, pushed for the vaccination of at least 150,000 individuals who are part of the skeleton workforce in higher education institutions (HEIs).
“I think so much attention was given to other sectors that the education sector was not prioritized,” CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III said during a virtual press conference for the 1st National Higher Education Day.
De Vera noted that when the education sector is brought up, the focus is on the students. “It seems that this was not prioritized because there are students flexible learning options for them,” he explained.
However, he noted that “what was not given equal emphasis is that there is a big workforce in every university and CHED that are working behind the scenes – to receive grades, prepare documents that students need.”
De Vera said that these were the points he raised to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) when he recommended elevating the education frontliners in higher education institutions and agencies from B1 to A4 in the government’s vaccine priority list.
“They are as essential as all other government agencies that are issuing permits, licenses and any documents that are needed – those in the higher education sector are equally important,” De Vera added.
Citing CHED’s estimates, De Vera said that there are “approximately about 150,000 people who need to be vaccinated” as part of the skeleton workforce of higher education institutions (HEIs).
De Vera said that these frontline workers include not just the faculty but also employees that are not working from home.
In the CHED Central Office alone, De Vera said that 300 persons are part of the skeleton workforce.
“We need to assure them that their health is safeguarded so that they can work efficiently so we’re pushing that they will be vaccinated,” he added.
As a highlight of the 1st National Higher Education Day, De Vera joined Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna in a ceremonial vaccination of education frontliners at the Universidad de Manila.