Ex-U.P. chancellor: Gov’t should give SUCs ‘more resources’ for online learning

Bonz Magsambol
'They should never ever sacrifice the education budget so we could build up necessary facilities for online learning,' former University of the Philippines Diliman chancellor Michael Tan says

MORE FUNDS. Former UP chancellor Michael Tan says that the government should allot more funds to state universities and colleges for the shift to online learning. File photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – How do we make sure that no student is left behind during the coronavirus pandemic?

For former University of the Philippines Diliman chancellor Michael Tan, the government should allot more resources for state universities and colleges (SUCs) because most classes would be shifting online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The CHED (Commission on Higher Education) and the government must provide more resources,” Tan said during a press briefing hosted by the Department of Health on Friday, May 15.

Tan added, “Huwag na huwag sila mag sacrifice ng education budget (They should never ever sacrifice the education budget) so we could build up necessary facilities for online learning, and training for teachers.” 

Tan said this in connection with earlier reports that SUCs might be forced to collect fees due to a directive of the Department of Budget and Management temporarily withholding the release of funds for some programs due to the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III said on May 8 that the budget department agreed to its request not to stop the release of funds for free tuition

‘Hindi puwede na may maiiwan’

According to Tan, classes in UP will open in September using online learning based on its academic calendar for 2020-2021.

Tan, however, said that they were observing the readiness of the students and teachers for the shift. (READ: During pandemic, student climbs a mountain to send class requirement)

“We keep checking students kung kumusta na kayo. Kung hindi kaya, our guiding principle is justice. Hindi puwede na may maiiwan,” Tan said.

(We keep checking our students how are they doing. If not all are capable for online learning, our guiding principe is justice. No one should be left behind.)

In a televised briefing on Thursday, May 14, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque presented the following approved CHED resolution on the opening of classes based on mode of teaching:

  • colleges, universities using full online can open classes anytime;
  • colleges, universities using “flexible” learning can open anytime in August 2020;
  • colleges, universities using residential or face-to-face mode can open not earlier than September 1, 2020 in areas under general community quarantine;
  • no residential or traditional face-to-face classes until August 31, 2020.

Experts at UP earlier recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte that classes remain suspended until December 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The UP experts also said that the “physical” opening of classes might increase the transmission of COVID-19.

As of Friday, coronavirus cases in the Philippines breached the 12,000 mark, with the total at 12,091. The new death toll reached 806. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.