MANILA, Philippines—Youth groups on Friday slammed the Commission on Higher Education for failing to provide timely advice to college students about the suspension of classes as heavy rains and strong winds battered Metro Manila on Thursday.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines called CHEd “inutile” and “incompetent in all aspects of its existence,” from regulating school fees to issuing timely announcements related to weather.
While the Department of Education issued class suspension orders amid heavy rains in certain areas Thursday afternoon, CHEd made no announcement until reached by the media in the evening.
CHEd gave school officials the discretion to suspend classes in their respective schools as policy only provides for automatic cancellation of classes in areas under storm signal No. 3, said Executive Director Julito Vitriolo.
“CHEd is always stranded. From mere giving announcements and directives regarding the suspension of classes to regulating school fees, the CHEd is incapable to decide for the welfare of students,” said NUSP.
Kabataan Partylist meanwhile called CHEd “weak and indecisive authority in matters concerning the safety and welfare of students during weather disturbances such as typhoons.”
“The Commission on Higher Education should implement informed decisions without having to pass its authority to schools. It is bothersome that CHED, even on the suspension of classes, now appears at the behest of schools when it should be the other way around,” said Athena Gardon, the group’s secretary-general.
NUSP president Einstein Recedes said the group has brought the matter up to CHEd and that the commission vowed to draft a new protocol in providing information on class suspension to college students.
One of NUSP’s proposals is for CHEd to provide collated data on nationwide class suspensions issued at the discretion of individual schools in cases of unbearable weather despite the absence of a storm signal.
Kabataan partylist Representative Raymond Palatino meanwhile proposed that CHEd coordinate more closely with the weather bureau to provide “area-wide” class suspension.
“CHEd should also require colleges to implement an extensive information system when suspending classes. Because of climate change, even strong rains can make going to classes dangerous for safety of students sometimes in some places,” Palatino said.