President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has approved the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) request for the expansion of limited face-to-face classes to other degree programs that require hands-on experience in higher education institutions (HEIs) under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
The urgent need for hands-on experience and the safety of students taking up medicine and allied health courses, who were permitted by the national government to conduct limited face-to-face classes since January 2021, is the key for CHED to recommend on the expansion proposal.
CHED presented to IATF the evidence on the ground that would show that the mechanisms that have been put in place, retrofitting of facilities by HEIs, observance of health protocols, putting up of Crisis Management Committees, coordination with LGUs concerned, etc., were effective in ensuring the achievement of the competencies of students/graduates without compromising their safety.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on September 21, 2021 issued the authority for face to face activities in the following areas:
- Engineering and Technology programs
- Hospitality/ Hotel and Restaurant Management
- Tourism/ Travel Management
- Marine Engineering
- Marine Transportation
“The Commission thanks President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the approval of limited face-to-face classes for the said programs in order to contribute to the efforts to boost the economic recovery of the country, as this will directly affect human resource development,” said CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera.
“Based on the data we gathered on the ground, there is a small percentage of students and faculty members who were affected by COVID-19. I’m convinced that it is safe to hold face-to-face classes and it can be expanded to cover other degree programs,” De Vera added.
Of the close to 2,000 universities and colleges, about almost half have already opened the school year. Others are planning to start classes in October or November.
“I have been in constant discussion with NTF Chief Implementor Carlito G. Galvez and we are now aggressively pushing for the vaccination of all faculty, staff and students in HEIs to add another layer of protection to our face-to-face classes. Some of our HEIs have completed the vaccination of their employees and students. We aim to do it for other HEIs as more vaccines arrive,” De Vera said.
“We assure our students, parents and faculty that holding in-person classes is safe. Our guidelines are strict,” he added.
HEIs intending to have limited face-to-face classes as part of their flexible learning policy may now apply for authority with CHED Regional Offices concerned.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education