U.P. mulls university-wide distance learning amid coronavirus crisis

Marje Pelayo   •   March 10, 2020   •   762

University of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed a major challenge among schools and universities in the country.

To address possible learning setbacks due to COVID-19, the University of the Philippines (UP) is considering the use of an online platform as an alternative to classroom school setting.

UP Executive Vice President Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said they might ask all 54,000 students in all eight UP campuses across the country to defer coming to school until the end of the term in May should COVID-19 further spread.

Herbosa said distance learning is what schools in other virus-stricken countries are doing at this time of coronavirus outbreak such as in the United States, Singapore and South Korea.

“All their classes are now online. May program tapos nakikita ng teacher ang mga estudyante. Nagdi-discuss sila, nakakagawa sila ng project. Nagsa-submit sila by email pero nasa bahay sila, (They have a program and the teacher sees the students [online]. They have discussions, they do their projects, they submit through email even if they are at home),” he said.

Herbosa said they are currently collaborating with their colleagues from the UP Open University who have been conducting distance learning to students in different places even to overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

The Commission of Higher Education (CHED), meanwhile, said they are leaving it to the administrators of State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) if they would prefer online classes.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera noted, however, that not all SUCs are capable or have the facilities to conduct online classes.

“We leave that to the SUCs to decide. Not all SUCs have capability to do online learning. Some are already doing it even before the spread of the virus happened. Shifting from residential to online or mixed delivery system also requires a process from the academic council all the way to the board of regents,” De Vera said in a statement.

“CHED does not have the authority to mandate a shift in delivery of programs. SUCs do it through their Boards of Regents using CHED guidelines,” he concluded.

UP Open University has been offering online courses since 1995 and celebrated its 25 years of quality distance learning in February this year. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Relaxed travel restrictions still pose health risks—UP OCTA Research

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team said relaxed travel restrictions may still pose health risks.

Dr. Guido David, team member of the UP OCTA Research, said it is too early for the country to accept inbound travels and that further review is needed to avoid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

“There’s a surge happening right now in Europe so if we were not careful, maraming cases [there are a lot of cases] outside the Philippine, in Europe and certain parts of the world, kasama pa rin diyan iyong sa (these includes) the United States and India. So we have to be careful about letting people,” he said.

David also said despite the drop of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, there is still a possibility for cases to increase if no safety measures is implemented.

“We’re also a bit worried because the rate of decrease in NCR is not that low anymore. It’s very slow. So it could be, the trend might be reversing anytime,” he added.

Services of Red Cross should also resume first, according to David, because its testing capacity covers 1/4 of the total testing capacity of the country. He also reiterated the need for the public to cooperate in order to fight against the virus.

“The public should be aware that the virus is still here. That the pandemic is not yet over. So if they’re loosening restrictions, responsibility is in the public in deciding whether or not they want to go out,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda).

DepEd asks parents to refrain from answering their children’s module

Marje Pelayo   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is calling on parents not to answer the worksheets on behalf of their children. 

The agency reminds parents and guardians that their role is only to guide the students in accomplishing their lessons but not to do the lessons themselves. 

DepEd stressed that schools have established a system to determine if the students understand the lessons even if they are studying at home.

As the opening of classes kicked off on Monday (October 5), students are given options to continue their schooling, may it be modular, online classes, through television or radio broadcast whichever is applicable.

READ: DepEd moves opening of classes to October 5

In August this year, the agency moved the opening of classes to October 5 following calls for adjustments as the country’s education system shifts to blended learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wish 107.5 celebrates 6th anniversary by giving away over 100 tablets to students

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 24, 2020

To continue the spirit of charity, Wish 107.5 celebrated its 6th anniversary by giving away over 100 tablets to students.

The Wish 107.5 digital benefit concert ‘Notes of Hope’ featured performances of several OPM powerhouse artists including Moira Dela Torre, Jason Marvin, Darren Espanto, The Juans, Bugoy Drilon, SB19 and BMPI’s own Wishfuls.

Desiree Castro, one of the beneficiaries, is grateful for the tablet especially after her parents lost their jobs.

Marami pong hirap ngayong pandemya pero malaking pagkakataon po ito para sa aming mga estudyante itong tablet na ito para magamit po namin sa pagaaral (This pandemic has been a great challenge but this tablet is a good opportunity for us to use in our studies), she said.

Another beneficiary, Manuelito Carretero, had to make ends meet by being an on-call driver. He has long been worrying for the school needs of his children

Malaking bagay po sa kanila kasi wala po kaming kakayahan makabili ng ganoong gadgets lalo po sa panahon ngayon (This is a huge deal for them because we have no means to buy these kinds of gadgets especially during these times),” he said.

The radio station’s benefit concert also gave hope to Erika Mae De Vera who was close to stop pursuing her studies. She said her father already told her not to enroll since they would not have any means to buy the gadget for online learning.

Makakaasa po kayong pagbubutihan ko po ang aking pagaaral (Rest assured that I will do good in my studies), she said.

BMPI CEO and President Daniel Razon expressed his gratitude for the support of Wishers and vows to continue providing a platform for artists.

“Our friends from the live events industry are some of those who have been heavily hit, which is one of the reasons we strive to remain to be a platform where artists can continue to share their music and impart messages of positivity amid these difficult times,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

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