The recent calls for the implementation of academic breaks have left the Commission on Education (CHED) wondering.
“Nagtataka nga ako bakit pinag-uusapan iyan kasi 2020 pa, nag-a-academic break na ang schools on their own (I wonder why they are talking about that because as early as 2020, schools have been implementing academic breaks on their own already),” CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera said in a TeleRadyo interview on Wednesday, Jan. 12.
“Our schools are very responsible kaya nga nagtataka ako (that’s why I’m wondering),” De Vera said as a response to sectors that have been urging CHED to implement academic breaks amid the surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.
“Sabi nila, utusan ko daw sabi ko, ‘hindi na kailangan utusan’ kasi ginagawa na nila ng isang taon yan at alam nila kung kailan kailangan dapat gawin (They are asking me to instruct but I said, ‘there’s no need’ because they have been doing that for a year already and they know when to do it),” De Vera explained.
Groups have been urging CHED to implement a nationwide academic break to help teachers and students cope with the pandemic.
However, De Vera said that the discretion to implement academic breaks and other measures is given to the universities and colleges.
De Vera said that the same discretion is given to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) when it comes to the opening of limited face-to-face classes for all degree programs.
He cited the case of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) which decided to open limited face-to-face classes by next school year.
“Sa dami ng nang positive sa kanila, ang decision nila kung kailan magpe-face-to-face ay next school year na. (With so many who tested positive, they decided to open face-to-face next school year),” he said.
Being a compact university with so many students and faculty, De Vera said that PUP will be implementing limited face-to-face classes in school year 2022-2023.
To ensure the health and safety of its faculty and students, De Vera said that PUP focused on strengthening the conduct of online classes instead of face-to-face sessions.
“So iyan, nagpapakita na nag-a-adjust yung mga pamantasan natin depende dun sa kalagayan nila (So this shows that our universities are adjusting depending on their situation),” he added.