MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said on Wednesday, July 13, that it will not require all schools to shift to in-person classes, letting colleges and universities to decide on the appropriate mode of learning applicable to them.
“Some degree programs really need a lot of face-to-face, especially skills-based programs, while other programs can be delivered via flexible learning. So we are leaving it to the universities to decide what is the appropriate mix,” said CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera III.
“For example, we cannot require all schools to do face to face because there are schools that have been doing distance learning and flexible learning even before the pandemic,” he added.
De Vera cited a private university in Metro Manila that has been using a mix of online and offline modes of learning so students would not have to deal with traffic congestion in the metropolis.
“There has been that kind of practice, and many of our universities have very good facilities to do flexible learning. They have learning management systems, they have strong connectivity, they have very good content materials, etc. So we will allow them to do that,” De Vera said.
The CHED chair issued the statement a day after the Department of Education ordered all basic education schools in the country to shift to in-person classes on November 2.
‘Significant’ number of schools doing in-person classes
Despite not mandating the return to face-to-face classes, De Vera said that CHED was expecting a “significant” number of schools to shift to the traditional mode of learning.
“We cannot have face-to-face for all degree programs because the degree programs are constructed differently, and also because many schools have gone ahead with online learning even before the pandemic. We should allow them to do that,” he explained.
In March 2021, De Vera said that CHED had already adopted a policy that “flexible learning” system will “continue in school year 2021 and thereafter.”
The CHED chair explained that they adopted the policy as they don’t want to “run the risk exposing our educational stakeholders to the same risk if another pandemic comes in.”
Aside from this, De Vera said that going back to the traditional face-to-face classes would waste the “investments in technology, teachers’ training, and retrofitting of our facilities.”
“Flexible learning” for higher education institutions involves a combination of digital and non-digital technology, which CHED said doesn’t necessarily require internet connectivity. (READ: During pandemic, student climbs a mountain to send class requirement) – Rappler.com