MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has adopted a policy that would allow universities and colleges in the Philippines to continue to offer flexible learning in the future.
Bringing back face-to-face sessions exposes educational stakeholders to the “similar risks if another epidemic strikes,” according to CHEd Chairman Prospero de Vera.
It would also “waste all of our expenditures in technology, teacher training, and facility remodeling,” according to De Vera.
“Flexible learning will be the norm from now on.” There are no plans to return to traditional, overcrowded face-to-face classes. In a webinar, he stated, “The commission has set a policy that flexible learning will continue in School Year 2021 and onwards.”
He went on to say that the “old paradigm of face-to-face versus internet will now vanish.”
“What will happen is that colleges will mix and combine flexible learning approaches suitable to their context,” De Vera said.
“Universities that are more prepared will continue to invest and advance using online platforms. Others will allow some of their students to return at certain times and perform more synchronous rather than asynchronous learning.”
As the digital divide “exacerbates difficulties in transitioning to flexible learning,” De Vera said, new innovations and adjustments are arising.
“Now, more than ever, both students and staff members are able to conform to flexible learning,” he stated.
He went on to say that teachers must now “realize that the old norms are gone and that they must adjust to new standards.”
“That includes being willing to connect and spend time with kids, as well as utilizing modern technology to improve and deepen dialogues.”
According to De Vera, “there will be a shift away from exam-based systems that rely on knowledge creation toward group work and project- or task-based systems, particularly in determining how to grade our students,” and textbooks will no longer be the sole source of knowledge.
Since last year, the country has prohibited in-person classes as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this year, the commission urged colleges and universities, some of which serve as vaccination sites, to vaccinate frontline workers against COVID-19.
By the end of the year, the country hopes to have vaccinated up to 70 million of its population, achieving herd immunity. Approximately 3.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered as of May 15.