(Eagle News) – The Commission on Higher Education said that there would be “no regular face-to-face classes in August” even for higher education institutions because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“CHED wants to make it very clear that higher education institutions (HEIs) will open the semester in August using flexible learning mode. There are NO regular face-to-face classes in August,” said CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III in a statement.
De Vera issued the statement to clarify an online article that appeared on the news website Rappler that he said put his quotes out of context.
“Without stating the proper context, the Rappler article made the readers who did not watch the CHED HiEd Press Conference, believe that CHED is pushing for the opening of ‘regular’ classes by August despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“The online comments now bash CHED and the government for allowing students to physically go to school and accusing the government of being insensitive and uncaring for the health and safety of students,” he explained.
CHED said that it is in fact in the midst of preparation to conduct a “free training on flexible learning to capacitate the faculty members for the opening of classes in August.”
This is to be together with leading higher education institutions (HEIs) throughout the country.
-Online teacher training-
“This initiative is being implemented through CHED HiEd Bayanihan- a virtual and free cooperative learning environment for educational fora, training, capacity building and resource sharing among Philippine HEIs. It is a digital community of educators, learners and content makers that explore innovative responses in the context of Philippine HEIs,” De Vera said.
“Universities are rising up to the challenge. Napapakita na kayang-kaya magawa ng universities through Bayanihan and this is the first time to happen in CHED’s history,” De Vera said.
“Walang katapusan itong capacity-building. We will only be able to address COVID-19 only if we altogether educate and learn as one. I call on the other leading HEIs with expertise in flexible learning to join us in this Bayanihan initiative to help other HEIs”
-De Vera urges more responsible reporting-
De Vera said Rappler should have been more responsible in its reporting of CHED statements.
He said that the misquoted statement, which was also published separately on Facebook states that, “We are ready to open [classes] this August. No ifs, no buts. Learning must continue. We learn as one, we are ready.”
De Vera said that this quote had even been used to create a material circulating online saying that “we are ready to die.”
“The article unduly hampers the spirit of bayanihan advocated by the Commission and HEIs especially during these challenging times, while everyone is finding ways to cope with the pandemic,” he said.
The CHED chair then urged Rappler “to provide a balanced report, using the proper context discussed in the press conference, instead of inciting controversy.”
“Let us learn and educate as one,” De Vera said.
-PHL CHED Connect to provide free online educational materials-
Last June 23, CHED launched the PHL CHED CONNECT to provide online resources for the faculty and students of Philippine higher education institutions as “they prepare for flexible learning.”
“Today, we complement the PHL CHED CONNECT with CHED HiEd Bayanihan initiative that fulfills the equally important need to train our faculty members,” De Vera said in a statement.
He said that this is a testament of Philippine higher education’s strength in unity.
“It represents the generosity of spirit and sense of community amongst CHED, HEIs, industry partners, experts and organizations to contribute to the retooling of faculty in view of the shift to flexible learning and teaching modalities,” a CHED statement read.
It describes the “PHL CHED CONNECT” as “a landmark undertaking of the Commission made possible with the support of our invaluable partners from the education and other various sectors.”
The PHL CHED CONNECT forms part of the Commission’s commitment to flexible learning for the continuity of higher education in the country. Through the PHL CHED CONNECT, an Open Educational Resources (OERs) Platform will be accessible and shared to all higher education institutions (HEIs) across the country.
PHL CHED CONNECT is an online portal that contains higher education course materials in text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and research purposes.
It can be used by students and educators to “maximize the use and increase the availability of educational materials” and to “raise the quality standards for educational resources by gathering more contributors.”
CHED said that the online materials here also “enhance opportunities for self-learning at home” and “support learner-centered, self-directed, peer-to-peer, and social or informal learning approaches.”
(Eagle News Service)