No need for nationwide declaration of academic break: CHED

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair J. Prospero de Vera III on Thursday said there is no need for a nationwide declaration of academic break amid the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) among college students and teaching personnel of higher education institutions (HEIs).

“Hindi na po kailangan iyan dahil kayang-kaya na ng ating mga pamantasan na gawin iyan (It is not needed because the HEIs can declare academic breaks) on their own,” de Vera said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

Some 126 HEIs, mostly in the National Capital Region and Region 4-A (Calabarzon), have announced their respective academic breaks during the first week of January as many students and teachers fell ill.

About 123 more HEIs are also expected to declare academic break toward the end of the month.

Meantime, HEIs in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas) and Caraga remain closed for the new semester because their facilities have been badly damaged by Typhoon Odette.

De Vera noted what the HEIs need is a guide that would help them anticipate the trend and expansion of Covid-19 infection so they can easily decide on the declaration of academic break in the coming months.

The CHED is planning to create regular online sessions where HEIs could meet with health experts about it and gain correct data.

“Iyon ang critical, iyong correct information is made available. How they use that information dahil nakapag-practice na ang ating mga pamantasan ng dalawang taon, kaya na nila iyan (That is critical, that correct information is made available. How they use that information because our HEIs have done it for two years already),” de Vera said.

“Halimbawa, ang Polytechnic University of the Philippines [PUP], ang kanilang paggamit ng option ng limited face-to-face ay next school year na nila gagawin, Sa School Year [SY] 2022-2023 na sila magli-limited face-to-face dahil ang kanilang pinagtutuunan ng panahon ay palakasin at pagandahin iyong kanilang (For example, the PUP, they will use their limited face-to-face classes option next year. They’ll do limited face-to-face classes in SY 2022-2023 because they want to focus on strengthening the) online and offline delivery ng education,” he added.

On Tuesday, the CHED released an advisory saying HEIs located in areas under Alert Level 3 can start limited physical classes for all degree programs by January 31.

The decision was criticized by netizens since Covid-19 cases continue to rise nationwide.

De Vera clarified concerned HEIs may defer the resumption of their classes depending on Covid-19 situations on the ground.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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