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)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called Mu.
According to the WHO bulletin on Tuesday (August 31), the Mu variant or B.1.621, has been classified as a “variant of interest.”
The variant was first detected in Columbia on January 2021 and was designated as a variant of interest on August 30, 2021.
Preliminary data showed that the Mu variant has the same behavior as the Beta variant. However, the WHO added that the data still needs to be confirmed by further studies.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the bulletin said.
There are currently five variants of interests namely Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, and the Mu variant. Variants of interest are defined by the WHO as variants “identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time.” AAC
Researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) have found that the bacteria from Mt. Mayon have antibiotic and anticancer properties.
According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have identified specific bacterial species from the soil of Mt. Mayon.
Kristel Mae P. Oliveros, the project leader and an assistant professor in UPLB Microbiology Divisio, said the specific bacterial isolate, identified as Streptomyces sp. A1-08, has shown antibiotic activity against numerous potentially pathogenic microorganisms and anti-colorectal cancer potential
“We have high hopes of getting new and novel species because this is a less explored environment, a volcano,” she said.
Once the researchers have confirmed that Streptomyces sp. A1-08 is a new species, they will name it “Streptomyces mayonensis A1-08” in honor of the Philippines.
Joining Rosana and Oliveros in their groundbreaking work are Andrew D. Montecillo, Dr. Rina B. Opulencia, Arian J. Jacildo, Dr. Asuncion K. Raymundo, and the late Dr. Teofila O. Zulaybar, who are all from UPLB. AAC
The University of the Philippines (UP) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) have landed in lower ranks of the 2022 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.
Based on the 2022 QS World University Rankings released on Wednesday (June 9), UP dropped to the 399th spot from ranking 396 while UST slid to 1,001-1,200 bracket from the 801-1,000 group. Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University remained in the 601-650 and 801-1,000 brackets, respectively.
Ranking at the top spot are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Standford University, and Harvard University. AAC
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