Flexible learning is not limited to online classes that are now being implemented in Philippine colleges and universities, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera said Monday.
According to De Vera, there still seem to be those who do not understand the commission’s flexible learning policy. Students can study through a combination of face-to-face classes and modular and online learning.
“Flexible learning is very simple. It is a policy where you allow the universities the authority to determine the correct mix of delivery systems, appropriate to the condition on the ground, to the condition of students, faculty members, and employees,” said De Vera in a virtual press briefing.
“There are many other types. You can combine online and offline. Synchronous and asynchronous, iyon ang tawag nila. You can do it offline by giving modules to the students to do at home and submit it if these are areas where there is absolutely no connectivity,” he added.
This past weekend, De Vera received criticism from youth groups for saying that flexible learning will be part of the new normal in higher education.
In a webinar, De Vera said that colleges and universities would not return to the former traditional face-to-face classes because it has become the commission’s policy to continue flexible learning in the coming years.
Colleges switched to flexible learning after banning face-to-face classes last year due to the threat of COVID-19.
But for Jandeil Roperos, head of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, CHED must provide gadgets and connection assistance if flexible learning continues.
The calls for an academic break and academic ease also prove that the students are tired of the current setup.
The Kabataan party-list said De Vera’s statement was neglect of education because it disregarded calls to restore face-to-face learning.
CHED clarifies flexible learning policy
But according to De Vera, colleges will not return to face-to-face without implementing flexible learning.
Currently, 64 higher education institutions are allowed to limit face-to-face classes for their medicine and allied health courses.
If students here are not infected with COVID-19, limited face-to-face classes can be recommended in other courses, De Vera said.
“Will there be face-to-face in the future? It depends on the conditions on the ground. Eventually, if we achieve herd immunity… then we will allow the schools to bring back the students slowly,” said De Vera.
“But it will not be anymore in the old traditional type. That is what I meant. We have to retrofit the schools,” he added.
Meanwhile, according to CHED, students at state and local universities and colleges can get vaccinated for free.
In private universities, miscellaneous fees can be used to subsidize vaccination, the commission said.
CHED and experts will meet this week to discuss the most effective way for students to be vaccinated.