CHEd asks schools to move lab work, other face-to-face activities to 2nd sem
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has asked universities and colleges to move laboratory work and other activities that would require physical attendance to the second semester of the incoming school year.
The incoming semester would instead consist of lectures and theoretical discussions conducted online.
CHEd Chairman Prospero de Vera III made the announcement late Wednesday night during a briefing on COVID-19 led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
De Vera said face-to-face activities — like on-the-job training and internships — could be rescheduled for January, by the which time COVID-19 cases in the country would probably be down and a vaccine could even have been discovered.
De Vera said private schools and local governments were asking the national government for guidance on the conduct of distance education.
“They don’t know what to do, especially in areas that have no internet connection,” he said in Filipino.
“Some schools informed CHEd that they would close because their enrollment had gone down. Parents and students are afraid… The problem is we don’t have a policy on closing because this COVID has never happened all this time. So we’re only [just now] crafting it,” he added, speaking in Filipino.
Last June, Duterte ordered the suspension of face-to-face classes to prevent infection among students. He said the suspension would be in effect until a vaccine or an antibody for COVID-19 could be discovered.
The alternative distance learning mode, however, presents some problems, with the lack of gadgets for both teachers and students and the absence of an internet connection in far-flung areas.
This led to low enrollment turnouts, partially also because the income of some families had been affected by the lockdowns.
Last June, some photos went viral as they showed teachers in Davao de Oro camping at a roadside just to get a strong data connection signal.
Last June 16, Duterte asked the public for patience, vowing to buy transistor radios for those who had neither electricity nor an internet connection.
—With a report from Jim Mendoza (trainee)
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