6 PH universities offer free ‘flexible learning’ training for faculty members

Bonz Magsambol
CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III says the initiative is for 'smaller universities' that have limited capacity to prepare their faculty for the start of classes on August

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announced on Thursday, July 9, that 6 universities would offer for faculty members in the country free training on how to conduct “flexible learning.”

The 6 universities are:

  • Philippine Normal University;
  • Central Luzon State University;
  • De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Manila;
  • Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation;
  • Far Eastern University;
  • Tarlac Agricultural University.

“[They] have basically finished the training programs for their own universities already. They have been capacitating their faculty members over the past couple of months. They have put in place their learning management system in place,” CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III said during a virtual press briefing.

According to De Vera, the initiative is for “smaller universities” that have limited capacity to prepare their faculty members for the start of classes on August.

Three of the universities in the list are based in Manila (PNU, DLS-CS, FEU), while the others are in the provinces. CLSU is in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija. MSEUF  is in Lucena City in Quezon province, while TAU is a public university based in Camiling, Tarlac.

“A lot of the big universities have been doing a good job for training their faculty members. There are close to 2,000 public and private universities. While I am confident that top universities are very ready, I am concerned that smaller universities, especially those in far-flung areas, may not be as prepared because they don’t have the internal capacity or they have less resources,” De Vera added. 

The free training programs will include module writing, identifying appropriate tools, and technology support for the flexible learning setting, among others. 

For the training schedules and information about the programs, interested faculty members may reach out to the universities through the following details:

  • Philippine Normal University – president@pnu.ph; vpacad@pnu.edu.ph
  • De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Manila – edtech@benilde.edu.ph
  • Central Luzon State University – clsu@clsu.edu.ph

The 3 other universities will share their information and program details as soon as they become available. 

De Vera said CHED could not give the number of faculty members who are not yet trained for the flexible learning mode as each university has its own way of training.

Wala pang aggregate [number] kasi mahirap yung aggregate number kasi iba-iba ang training needs ng faculty. Puwede na nag training sila sa basics ng flexible learning tapos puwede rin na iba pa sa discipline,” De Vera explained. 

(We don’t have the aggregate number yet because training for faculty members vary. It can be that they were trained on the basics of flexible learning then they were trained depending on their disciplines.)

De Vera said CHED would release this data once they get it from the colleges and unversities. 

This initiative is just one of CHED’s way in helping education stakeholders cope with the challenges in education disrupted by the pandemic. On June 23, the agency launched web-based platform PHL CHED Connect that provided free learning materials for college students.

On May 14, the government’s coronavirus task force approved the CHED resolution to open classes in colleges and universities based on mode of teaching, with the educational institutions that use “flexible” learning allowed to open anytime in August.

“Flexible learning” for higher education institutions involves a combination of digital and non-digital technology, which CHED says doesn’t necessarily require connectivity to the internet. (READ: During pandemic, student climbs a mountain to send class requirement)

On the issue of limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas, De Vera said CHED was still studying this possibility. On June 24, he said CHED was “crafting guidelines for possible limited face-to-face classes in low risk MGCQ areas as part of the flexible learning system.”

Last May, experts at the University of the Philippines warned the transmission of COVID-19 might increase if face-to-face classes open in Metro Manila schools in August and September.

Meanwhile, De Vera said CHED could not determine yet if the pandemic would result in a decline of enrollment this year. He said they would know the number once universities and colleges submit their enrollment data by the end of August. 

As of Wednesday, the Philippines recorded 50,359 cases of the disease, inlcuding 1,314 deaths and 12,588 recoveries. – 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.