MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday thumbed down calls for universities and colleges to ease the academic load of students amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and the destruction caused by successive typhoons.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he does not see a need for an “academic ease” since universities and colleges have already been flexible under the blended and distance learning scheme being implemented nationwide.
Roque explained that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in an en banc meeting, has agreed to reject the proposal and instead extend the semester to allow students to catch up with the submission of academic requirements.
“Pagdating po doon sa ating universities ay nagkaroon na po ng en banc meeting ang CHED, at ang decision po ng CHED ay hindi po papayagan itong academic break na hinihingi ng ilan, kung hindi ang desisyon po ng en banc ng CHED ay para mag-extend po iyong mga pamantasan, mga kolehiyo na hindi nakapag-klase dahil sa bagyo ng one or two weeks para po matapos ang kanilang semester (When it comes to our universities, the CHED had an en banc meeting and their decision was not to allow the academic break being sought by some sectors. Instead, they decided to extend classes for one or two weeks so that they can finish their semester),” he said.
In a radio interview, Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said the department would not issue an “academic ease” as no country has suspended its reopening of classes.
Umali also noted that universities and colleges have not been strict with deadlines.
Thousands of schools were damaged or destroyed by consecutive typhoons while other schools are being used as evacuation centers.
On Sunday, youth party-list Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago joined calls for an easing of the academic load to help students, staff, and faculty members affected by typhoons.
“Declare an academic break to assess the current education situation, review faculty and student workload, implement a ‘no fail’ policy, and provide aid to those in need of food, shelter, and other necessities! It’s also important to move deadlines. Kung walang pasok, dapat merong extension ng pasahan ng requirements (If there were no classes, there should be an extension in the submission of requirements),” she said in a tweet.
To date, several universities, including Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, have suspended classes for at least a week following the destruction brought by typhoons. (PNA)