The education sector was one of the most badly-hit of the many components of society when COVID-19 became a pandemic last year. As summer 2020 went on and it became clear that the problem was not going away soon, traditional classes for all levels were closed, replaced by an awkward hybrid learning system with home-delivered modules and lessons conducted online where permissible. Such as system has never been attempted on a large scale in the country before, and the results were not adequate. Attempts to have limited face-to-face classes faced intense inquiry, until it was decided that selected colleges and universities can try this year.
As the Philippine Star tells it, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Health (DOH) has given approval to 24 higher-education institutions (HEI) for doing limited-number face-to-face classes as of this Friday, March 26. Said classes are to be conducted at the start of the second semester of the current academic year. CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera notes that the 24 selected institutions have full compliance with guidelines jointly laid down by the CHED-DOH, and duly inspected by officials from CHED and their respective LGUs. The face-to-face classes will only involve college and university third-year and fourth-year students.
Taking a risk to have college-age students attend face-to-face classes becomes understandable when one looks at the academic courses being prioritized by the 24 HEIs at CHED’s suggestions. The prospective face-to-face university students are those studying medicine, nursing, medical technology, medical lab science, public health, midwifery and physical therapy. Expediting these students to graduate and be certified in their fields would do much to add fresh new medical workers to the severely-taxed medical infrastructure across the country, even as the battle against COVID rages on.
Of the 24 colleges and universities given the okay to do face-to-face classes this coming second semester, seven are in Metro Manila; four each in the Regions 4 and 6; two each in Regions 7 and 10, and one school apiece in Regions 1, 3, 5, 9 and the CAR.
Image from Daily Tribune