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CHED suspends college operations in areas hit by Yolanda

For CHED, information is hard to come by as regional directors themselves are affected by the super typhoon

STILL STANDING. What remains of the Leyte Colleges after typhoon Yolanda devastated the province. Photo by Rupert Ambil/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education, on Wednesday, November 13, declared an “immediate cessation of operations” in public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) heavily affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

All HEIs in Eastern Visayas, and those in severely-affected areas in Western and Central Visayas will resume operations next year, Jan 15, 2014. (READ: Aftermath of Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan): What we know)

According to latest records from the commission, there are 151 HEIs in Western Visayas, 162 in Central Visayas, and 95 in Eastern Visayas. More than 600,000 students are enrolled in these regions.

CHED Chairperson Dr Patricia Licuanan said colleges may resume classes as soon as they have stabilized operations, and once public safety and security are assured.

She also instructed directors of the 3 regions to collaborate in tracking their missing staff, checking the situation of the HEIs in their areas, and preparing for any instructions from the government on disaster operations and management.

CHED told Rappler on Wednesday that information is hard to come by for the department as regional directors themselves are affected by the super typhoon.

Help communities

As for HEIs in affected regions which sustained minimal to no damage, Licuanan said they may choose to follow regular schedules for the second semester, but are urged to assist the department in helping their communities.

“These HEIs are urged to assist CHED in undertaking appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of Typhoon Yolanda on the people living in the severely affected areas—particularly the students, faculty, staff and other members of the academic community,” she added.

School officials are asked, as soon as they can, to provide information on the status of their institutions and the extent of damage they incurred.

In the aftermath of Yolanda, Licuanan said affected HEIs should also make sure no student, faculty, or staff “shall be unduly prejudiced in their academic standing, employment benefits, or other compensation packages due them.”

“The Commission is therefore enjoining all concerned sectors to extend their full cooperation and support in order to alleviate the conditions of affected Filipinos and make these more bearable and humane under the circumstances,” she said. –