CHED: Colleges, universities free to adjust academic calendar

Bonz Magsambol

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CHED: Colleges, universities free to adjust academic calendar

LeAnne Jazul

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera says the adjustments should be 'reasonable, transparent, and outcomes-based validated'

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Tuesday, April 14, said colleges and universities are allowed to adjust their approved academic calendars in view of the coronavirus pandemic

“During this period between now and April 30, higher education institutions are expected to continue exercising their judegment in the depolyment of available and flexible learning and other relevant modes of delivery in lieu of campus learning,” CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera said in a press briefing.

De Vera said that adjustments should be “reasonable, transparent, and outcomes-based validated.” 

“They are still expected to determine how to best meet the contact hour requirement for the completion of the degree program,” De Vera added. 

CHED issued two sets of guidelines for colleges and universities using the old (June to May) and new (August-July) academic calendars: 

For old academic calendar:

  • Colleges and universties are authorized to finish their current semester, trimester, quarter, or equivalent academic period by April 30, 2020, utilizing a combination of flexible learning options that reflect the best assessment of their students’ outcomes.
  • In-person graduation ceremonies are discouraged given the continuing need for social distancing and the restrictions on mass gathering.

  • All CHED-recognized private colleges and universities, regardless of accreditation status, are allowed to exercise flexibility in determining the extent of adjustments for their approved academic calendar as provided in CHED Advisory No. 2 but are required to inform the CHED regional offices on the changes in their academic calendar, transition plans and implementation thereof.

For new academic calendar: 

  • Colleges and universities are authorized to extend their semester for a maximum of one month after the lifting of the lockdown.

  • Given the extension of the semester, they may conduct summer/midterm classes only for graduating students who need to complete their academic requirements; for students whose subjects are scheduled in the summer under the programs, standards, and guidelines of their degree program; and students taking up graduate studies. The special summer classes must strictly observe social distancing and other safety requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • For degree programs that require internship and clinical duties, such as medicine, nursing, and allied health program:

    • Colleges and universitied will be given flexibility to extend classes/clinical duties and prepare a catchup plan for their students for a maximum of one month after the lifting of the lockdown. The duration of extension classes/clinical duties will depend on the alternative modes of learning instituted by their management.
    • They can use appropriate alternative learning platforms such as electronic and non-electronic learning methods, modules, self-directed learning activities, simulations, case-based scenarios, among others, in exchange for the required contact hours to achieve the course outcomes/program outcomes including evaluation and assessment based on the HEI’s assessment of its instructional capabilities.
    • They are allowed flexibility in modifying or reducing program requirements such as number of: clinical/surgical procedures assisted/done, reports submitted, bedside procedures assisted/done, among others, to meet the requirements for graduation/promotion during the interim period. They may use the extension of classes or summer/midterm to comply with requirements of laws covering specific professions.
    • They shall coordinate with the various health facilities where students are currently deployed and coordinate plans on the flexible curricular modification arrangements being advanced to facilitate issuance of necessary certificates of completion.
    • Maximum consideration and leniency shall be accorded to students/clinical rotators in the conduct of makeup classes/clinical duties and modification of curricular requirements without compromising the attainment of learning outcomes.
  • For degree programs such as accountancy , engineering, hospitality management, computer studies, industrial technology and other non-health related programs:
  • Students undergoing on-the-job training/internship where the students have been pulled out of their respective training centers and transferred to the HEI due to the lockdown should not be allowed to return to their respective companies or offices. The total number of training hours earned in their respective training centers prior to the implementation of the lockdown shall be considered and credited.
  • Colleges and universities through their respective Student Internship Program (SIP) supervisors/head/coordinator shall exercise discretion in facilitating flexible learning activities based on the established training plan of the program, to comply with the remaining number of required training hours.
  • Alternative learning activities such as modules, self-directed learning activities, case studies, assignments, or other related activities performed by the student-trainees in the offices/laboratories shall be part of the portfolio to be submitted by the trainees.
  • The SIP coordinator  shall be responsible in assessing/evaluating the outputs of the student-trainees and in the computation and submission of their grades.

De Vera said that CHED will review the appropriate programs, standards, and guidelines of the different degree programs so it could make the necessary modifications to cover the changes in internships, OJT, and other requirements to be effective only for academic 2019 to 2020.

Safety measures

In an advisory sent to media, CHED  said that after the lockdown, colleges and universities are advised to adopt the health and safety measures of the returning studentes, faculty, and staff. 

“Given the different community quarantine policies among various localities, all HEIs should ensure that appropriate protocols relative to community quarantine are followed, accordingly, prior to and upon reentry of their constituents,” CHED said. 

It added that colleges and universities “shall conduct an inventory of all their constituents and categorize those who are coming from localities with and without COVID-19 positive cases.”

According to CHED, the HEIs should make a system in monitoring the health of its students, faculty and staff, especially those coming from areas with coronavirus patients. 

De Vera said colleges and universities outside Luzon are also expected to follow these guidelines. 

As of Tuesday, the Philippines recorded 5,223 coronavirus cases, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries.

The government extended the lockdown in Luzon until April 30, from the original April 12. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.