CHED orders Isabela Colleges to explain conduct of face-to-face classes during pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020   •   168

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued a show-cause order to Isabela Colleges for holding face-to-face classes amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera III said the college has been ordered to stop its in-person meetings as this clearly violates the guidelines being implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

The order was issued following a report that a student tested positive for COVID-19 and that he attended an on-campus orientation in August for its post-Baccalaureate students.

De Vera said city health officials were tracing up to 45 contacts of the said student.

Isabela Colleges was given ten days to explain why no sanctions should be imposed on its officials for their failure to comply with CHED advisories and the IATF guidelines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

POEA assures support for seafarers affected by pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has assured continued assistance to seafarers affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In Resolution No. 13, series of 2020, the POEA emphasized the provision of assistance and benefits to seafarers stranded ashore or are facing problems in their deployment or repatriation due to pandemic-related reasons.

Under the resolution, a seafarer who already signed an employment contract but cannot be deployed from the point of hire due to the pandemic shall be provided with accommodation and food to be shouldered by their principal or employer, unless provided by the government.

The assistance will be provided until the seafarer is deployed or returned home or until contract cancellation.

A seafarer who was deployed but becomes stranded during his transit shall be paid basic pay, accommodation, food, and medical benefits at the principal or employer’s cost until the seafarer reaches the vessel.

The resolution also directs principals or employers to provide the same assistance and benefits to seafarers who already signed a contract and deployed but unable to join the ship and is repatriated back home, as well as other seafarers who cannot be repatriated due to the pandemic.

Seafarers who completed his period of contractual service onboard, and who is ashore but cannot be repatriated shall also be provided with basic pay, accommodation, food, and medical benefits.

The principal/employers of the seafarer shall also provide all the cost on the accommodation and food of the seafarer during his quarantine period, unless otherwise provided by the government.

“Meanwhile, the principal/employers will be allowed to recover any associated cost on the said provision of assistance and benefits in accordance with the employment contract or the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the POEA said.

CHED examines effects of online classes on students’ study habits

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Chairperson Prospero De Vera of the Commission on Higher Education supports the recommendation of House Deputy Speaker Dan Fernandez that there should be an established guideline on the conduct of online classes. 

During the House hearing on CHED’s proposed budget for 2021 on Wednesday (September 16), Fernandez expressed his concern over students’ lack of focus during online classes.

He cited his own child as an example. 

Nakikinig siya (habang) kumakain. Nagkukwentuhan kami and I asked him “Ano ba iyang pinakikinggan mo?” sabi ko sa anak ko. Sabi niya sa akin “Dad, nag-o-online class ako,” Fernandez narrated.

[He was listening while eating. We were chatting and I asked him: “What is it that you’re listening to?” He answered: “Dad, I’m having an online class.”]

The lawmaker worries how students will be able to learn when surrounded by so many distractions at home.

What should every student feel, Fernandez said, is similar to what it is like in a classroom setting. 

“Is it possible na maging mandatory na kapag ang Zoom classes ay isang oras yan, isang oras naka video in yung ating mga estudyante? [Is it possible to require students to have their videos on during the one hour classes on Zoom?” he asked CHED.

De Vera, for his part, supports Fernandez on his observation.

He agreed to a thorough study on the effects of technology to students’ behaviour and values as well as their health. 

May mga pag aaral na kapag pinilit mo ang bata, dalawa o tatlong oras, may epekto din sa kalusugan niya [There are studies which suggest that if you force a student into two or three hours (of online class), there are definite effects in his health]. So we have to adjust all of this, ” De Vera said.

Meanwhile, CHED has started preparing for the possible resumption of face-to-face classes or physical classroom setting should it be allowed next year. 

The agency is now looking for a model school which facilities and health protocols can be replicated in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

But since physical classes are still restricted, CHED is demanding an explanation from a school in Isabela for starting face-to-face classes in August which resulted in one student contracting COVID-19.

Authorities are now tracing all 45 other students who had close contact with the patient.

“Many of the universities are moving their classes that need laboratories, need OJT, putting that requirement in the second semester in anticipation of allowing limited face to face in low risk and GCQ areas. But as of now, nobody is allowed to do face-to-face classes,” de vera said.

For 2021, CHED proposed an up to P50.928-B budget, a P3-B increase from the agency’s current budget.

To date CHED recorded about 3.4 million students enrolled both in private and public colleges and universities, at least 1.33 million of them are scholars.

Based on CHED’s data, about 76% of the 112 state colleges and universities (SUCs) have already opened, while 21% is set to open in October. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo) 

DepEd plans to dispense with periodical exams amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) is planning to do away with periodical exams to avoid cheating during the conduct of blended learning amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that instead of holding periodical exams, they will focus on written outputs and performance tasks for students learning from their homes.

“While we are trying to also find ways making sure na yung distance cheating is avoided ang pinakauna yata ay talagang makaunawa ang lahat na hindi dapat mahalaga yung mataas na score mas mahalaga yung natutuhan ng bata,” he said.

DepEd earlier appealed to parents and guardians of students to help the department reinforce the value of honesty among students since teachers don’t see them in person.

“Kung sa bahay ay gusto mo maging honest yung anak eh katulong ka sa paggawa ng dishonest output that will be very detrimental into our effrots in shaping our good filipinos, paalala ito pagkakataon natin ang home base learning na ito para turuan ang mga bata ng tamang values,” San Antonio said.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Association of Private Schools Administrators (FAPSA) expressed support for DepEd’s move and assured that they will direct their members to follow the learning assessment scheme.

“Ang pagkukunan ng grade dyan pwede yung perfomance niya sa klase, it could be even oral pagka-grade 5 grade six up to high school lalo na sa senior high pwede na ang essay eh,” Eleazardo Kasilag, FAPSA’s president, said.

DepEd said the opening of classes for the upcoming school year will still push through as scheduled on October 5.

The department earlier reported that over 24 million students have so far enrolled and that around 800 schools have notified to halt operations this year due to the effects of the pandemic. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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