MANILA, Philippines – The government has allowed more college programs to resume face-to-face classes, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said.
In a statement, CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the commission’s request for the expansion of limited in-person learning to other degree programs that require hands-on experience in higher education institutions (HEI) in areas classified under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
De Vera said the following college programs are now allowed to hold limited physical classes:
- Engineering and Technology programs
- Hospitality/ Hotel and Restaurant Management
- Tourism / Travel Management
- Marine Engineering
- Marine Transportation
Prior to this development, only students in medicine and allied health courses were permitted by the government to conduct limited in-person classes.
“The Commission thanks President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the approval of limited face-to-face classes for the said programs in order to contribute to the efforts to boost the economic recovery of the country, as this will directly affect human resource development,” De Vera said.
“Based on the data we gathered on the ground, there is a small percentage of students and faculty members who were affected by COVID-19. I’m convinced that it is safe to hold face-to-face classes and it can be expanded to cover other degree programs,” he added.
De Vera said he is in talks with National Task Force (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. for proposals to vaccinate all faculty, staff and students to add “another layer of protection to our face-to-face classes.”
“Some of our HEIs have completed the vaccination of their employees and students. We aim to do it for other HEIs as more vaccines arrive,” De Vera said.
“We assure our students, parents and faculty that holding in-person classes is safe. Our guidelines are strict,” he added.
HEIs intending to have limited face-to-face classes as part of their flexible learning policy may now apply for authority with CHED Regional Offices concerned, De Vera said.
Aside from several college programs, Duterte recently approved the pilot test of face-to-face classes in basic education in selected areas as part of plans to gradually reopen schools amid the pandemic.
Schools have been closed for more than a year and students shifted to flexible learning due to the threat of COVID-19.