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CHED: Classes should all start in August amid COVID-19 crisis

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Private universities still using the old academic calendar where classes start in June should now adopt the new calendar of opening classes in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Monday.

CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera said such move is necessary as the months of May to July should be used to prepare for the flexible learning system, which will be implemented for the coming academic year.

"Walang significant changes [in terms of school opening] kasi may mga HEIs (higher education institutions) ng gumagamit ng new calendar so I don't know if the IATF would still need a ruling for this," he said during the day's Laging Handa public briefing.

"But for private universities still using the old calendar, they would have to move the opening to August as we roll out flexible learning," he added.

De Vera said that flexible learning would mean the students will be doing a combined online, offline, residential and non-residential school work, depending on the internet connectivity of the students, teachers and the HEIs.

On the part of over 300 state universities and colleges, CHED has already given them the months of May and June to come up with a plan on implementing the flexible learning system.

"We will be rolling out a massive training program for teachers and HEIs in May or early June," De Vera said.

In addition, the Department of Information and Communications Technology will also conduct assessment of the school, teachers and the students' internet connectivity to determine the extent of assistance that CHED should  grant the HEIs in need.

De Vera assured the public that the flexible learning system will not compromise quality education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The flexible learning system will not change the learning outcomes and achievements that the students should meet," he said.

"Pareho pa rin ang expected outcome. Ang mababago lang po eh iyong how you will produce that outcome."

The Philippines has recorded at least 10,794 cases of COVID-19 infections as of Sunday. Of this number, 1,924 recovered while 719 have died. --KBK, GMA News

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