Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera III is proposing to reschedule subjects that require the physical presence of students to the second semester.
De Vera mentioned his proposal for the higher education sector during the pre-recorded coronavirus task force meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte aired on Wednesday night, July 15.
"Uutusan natin 'yung mga universities na 'yung lahat ng subjects na may [laboratory], OJT, internship etcetera, i-reschedule nila sa second semester," (We're going to instruct universities to reschedule subjects that have laboratory, on-the-job training, internship, etc, to the second semester), De Vera said.
He said only the regular lectures will be held during the first semester, particularly subjects that don’t require one's physical presence in schools.
"Sa first sem, ang ituturo lang lahat ng mga klase na regular na puwede lectures, theoretical doon sa first sem. Imo-move natin sa second semester 'yung kailangan pupunta [ang mga estudyante]," De Vera added.
(During the first semester, only regular classes that can be done through lectures, theoretical, will be taught. We will move to the second semester [subjects] that require students to go to school.)
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)
With colleges and universities opening classes in August, the second semester is expected to start in January 2021.
In a virtual press briefing on July 10, De Vera said that universities and colleges were ready to open classes in August using “flexible learning” even if the country was still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
During the Wednesday meeting, De Vera also said that some schools, especially in far-flung areas, were at a loss on what to do as they do not have no internet access.
"Pero humihingi po ako ng guidance. ‘Yung mga private schools in particular and local governments kasi hindi po nila alam ang gagawin lalo sa mga areas na walang internet connection," De Vera said.
(But I'm asking for guidance. Some private schools in particular and local governments don't know what to do especially those in areas that don't have internet connection.)
De Vera earlier said that universities and colleges have the freedom to choose what mode of learning would be effective for them.
Some of them would be giving purely online, purely modular lessons, while others would use a combination of the two, De Vera said.
De Vera also told the President that some schools have informed CHED that they would shut down due to lack of enrollees.
"Mayroon na pong ilang eskwelahan na nagsabi sa CHED na magsasara sila dahil ang enrollment po ay talagang bumaba…. May mga ilang nagreport na rin po sa CHED pero ang problema po ay wala kaming policy sa pagsara. Itong COVID ay hindi po nangyari sa matagal na panahon, and we’re only crafting it," De Vera said.
(There are also schools that advised CHED that they were closing due to lack of enrollees. There are those that already reported to CHED, but the problem is we don't have a policy yet on closure. This COVID-19 pandemic only happened now, and we're only crafting the policy.)