TACLOBAN CITY, May 22 (PIA) -- Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will have to adopt flexible learning systems for the opening of classes come August, this year.
This was learned from Regional Director George Colorado of the Commission on Higher Education 8 (CHED-8) during his guesting at the Suruswerte ha PIA on Thursday at DYVL Aksyon Radyo hosted by the Regional Director Olive Tiu of the Philippine Information Agency 8.
"Things would change. We will have to adopt flexible learning systems as strategies would depend on the situation and capability of the higher education institutions, especially the teachers and students," Director Colorado said.
Colorado added, "We have to do some extra works, no more face-to-face classes called residential classes, and the capability to open depends on the ability to adopt the new system. We have to check on this because we don't want to risk the health and life of our teachers and students."
The director also said that they have to forego the scheduled summer classes and that the office is encouraging all to start classes in August, to utilize the next two months for the needed preparations especially on safety concerns.
He also said that his office is coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) because per DICT, they will be refurbishing towers in the region in order to increase the internet infrastructure capacity, considering that online learning system has been considered appropriate for the situation when health crisis is being experienced. Though according to him, there is the possibility for a face-to-face mode for a combined learning, but in a reduced number of students per class while social distancing is mandated.
Colorado also informed that the school year is supposed to end now, but there are still some schools that have extended for one month more so as to complete the previous semester.
According to the CHED director, "Though we expect that some students may not cope with the requirements, yet we don't want to encourage the mass promotion concept."
"We must maintain quality education. If the students cannot finish with the requirements, we enjoin teachers not to fail them. They should be given one year to comply, maybe together with the following year's requirements. We should give them the chance considering the difficulties that everybody is experiencing now," he added.
For the on-the-job trainees who are required to complete some number of hours, Colorado emphasized that said trainings are important and that some alternatives maybe done, or else, extend the training hours for them to be exposed to the real situations as experiences may not be learned from the professors, according to him. He added that this is especially true to those who are in the medical field where actual exposure is needed, for them to be competent and be globally competitive.
On the opening of classes, CHED has issued advisories, saying that classes can start on August, provided, that school personnel are showing their capability to handle the situation. If they still have to build up their capability such as training teachers on social media, they may start a little later like September, but they have to ensure that the required number of days for the school year or semester is completed.
Presently, CHED is in the process of preparation for the coming school year. It is considering some plans and strategies to include the determination as to what infrastructure to be used, in efforts to have better internet access. The office is also looking into a learning management system such as software packages, modules and lectures that could be downloaded even when not online, particularly for those who have limited access.
According to Colorado, "We expect higher education institutions to create innovations for our people. This is the time that they should really be relevant so as to help people survive and recover from the crisis they are facing now."
Meanwhile, PIA-8 Director Olive Tiu informed the CHED chief that there are already some universities who have coordinated with the office as to dissemination of information on higher education concerns. She also bared that Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar has already given the authority to use government radio stations as among the platforms for use in the learning processes. (ldl/gtt/PIA-Leyte)