Tolentino pushes resumption of limited face-to-face classes forvaccinated post-graduate students

Tolentino pushes resumption of limited face-to-face classes for
vaccinated post-graduate students

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – The national government should allow the resumption of
limited face-to-face classes for post-graduate students, Senator
Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino said.

In his weekly radio program over DZRH, Tolentino said he sees no
problem if graduate school and law school students will be allowed by
the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to attend their respective physical
classes for as long as they are fully vaccinated.

According to Tolentino, most post-graduate students belong to the
country’s working-class sector and are eligible to be vaccinated. The
the lawmaker noted that allowing them to attend physical classes on a
limited basis won’t be too risky, as long as they are vaccinated and
still abide by authorities’ minimum health standards.

He added that faculty members, other school officials, and personnel
must be fully vaccinated before allowing post-graduate institutions to
resume their respective face-to-face classes.

Last February, President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the recommendation of
the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) allowed the resumption of
limited face-to-face classes for medical schools and other health
science institutions in the country.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has also
recommended a gradual resumption of face-to-face classes for the
academic year 2021-2022, noting that the current blended learning
scheme has deeply affected the country’s quality of education.

During last week’s preliminary discussion for the proposed
P5.024-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022,
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua told members of
the Senate Committee on Finance that a year without having
face-to-face classes will result in a projected P11-trillion loss in
productivity over the next 40 years.

Chua explained that a year without physical classes would permanently
affect students’ abilities, especially when they enter the labor
sector after graduation.

Tolentino adhered to the latest assessment made by NEDA, noting the
quality of learning accumulation of the pupils, both in the
undergraduate and post-graduate studies, went down considering the
questionable effectiveness of distance learning.

Tolentino earlier stressed that gradual resumption of face-to-face
classes in low-risk island provinces—or those with low or zero
COVID-19 infection rate—should be allowed by the Inter-Agency
Taskforce (IATF) while still abiding with existing minimum health
protocol guidelines.

He noted that the current blended learning curriculum being imposed by
CHED and the Department of Education (DepEd) isn’t effective,
considering the current connectivity problem of the country’s telcos.

Meanwhile, Tolentino suggested that dormitory owners and operators
should only accept vaccinated tenants if the national government
decides to allow limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas to
prevent the further spread of the virus. (ai/mtvn)

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