Universities, colleges with 'flexible' learning can start classes in August – CHED

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Prospero de Vera III said on Thursday, April 30, that universities and colleges implementing "flexible" learning may start school year 2020-2021 in August.

In a virtual meeting of the higher education committee of the House of Representatives, De Vera said: "HEIs that are using flexible learning can open in August 2020."

De Vera said that "flexible learning" for higher education institutions or HEIs involve a combination of "digital and non-digital technology." He added that this does not necessarily require connectivity. (READ: During pandemic, student climbs a mountain to send class requirement)

Meanwhile, HEIs using "residential" or a face-to-face set-up can start classes in September.

Experts at the University of the Philippines (UP) have recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte that classes remain suspended until December 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

A group of private schools, however, expressed concern over delayed opening of classes.

"The revenue loss for the private education sector if school opening is pushed to August is already estimated at P55.2 billion. Imagine if we don't allow schools to open by then, many teachers will lose their jobs," said Joseph Noel Estrada, managing director of Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations.

De Vera earlier said that HEIs were allowed to adjust their approved academic calendars in view of the pandemic.

Despite the recommendation of the government task force on coronavirus to open classes in September, the Department of Education said it was still eyeing August as the start for basic education students.

Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan earlier said that the opening of school year 2020-2021 "does not necessarily mean that students will be coming to school."

The DepEd is also considering information communication technology (ICT) platforms, television, and radio in delivering lessons during the coronavirus crisis.

Metro Manila and other parts of the Philipines remain under lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until May 15. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said beginning May 16, new impositions of quarantine must be made with the approval of the government task force.

As of Thursday, the Philippines recorded 8,488 cases of coronavirus, with 568 deaths and 1,043 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.

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