Online, offline mix and match: CHEd denies 'gross negligence' in flexible learning implementation


Posted at May 24 2021 09:45 AM | Updated as of May 24 2021 02:43 PM

Online, offline mix and match: CHEd denies 'gross negligence' in flexible learning implementation 1
Students take part in their online classes inside their home in Parañaque on September 24, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The chairman of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Monday denied the claim of Kabataan Partylist that it was "grossly negligent" in the flexible learning of students during the pandemic.

CHEd chairman Prospero de Vera last week said the commission has a policy that flexible learning will "continue in School Year 2021 and thereafter," which was met with criticism from youth groups.

De Vera on Monday said those who criticized government are "confusing" flexible learning with online learning. He said that under the flexible learning policy, teachers can use both online and offline methods of teaching plus limited face-to-face classes especially for medical courses. 

"You mix and match the available options depending on the situation of students, teachers, connectivity, health situations on the ground...You cannot have a one-size fits all policy at this point in time," he told ANC's Headstart.

"We are on track and on target to implement whatever is contained in Bayanihan 2. I do not know what is grossly negligent in that particular respect."

In-person classes in the country have been banned since last year as precaution against the spread of the coronavirus. 

De Vera urged Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago to raise the issue of lack of internet allowance for students with the House of Representatives and Senate.

"I don't know what Sarah Elago is talking about when she talks about gross negligence. The insistence on giving assistance on students by giving them internet load was discussed in the House of Representatives as part of the Bayanihan 1 and 2. My question is why wasn’t she able to convince the rest of Senate and House to do it," he said.

"I think this is a politically-loaded statement that she is mentioning. As far as the commission is concerned, everything is being done within health parameters and financial parameters of government."

Elago on Sunday said not all students and teachers who have complied with flexible learning "have adjusted to the current learning set-up which is still far from flexible."

"It has taken a toll on students and teachers' health and well-being as they struggle with online classes, experiencing stress and anxiety amid the health and economic crises," she said in a Twitter post.

In a separate briefing, De Vera also appealed to those who are spreading false information on flexible learning to stop.

"I ask those who are spreading fake news and wrong information and agitating the students to lose their belief in flexible learning - please stop. You are not doing anyone a favor," he said.

"Our students are suffering enough from a lot of things that are beyond their control," he added.

Under flexible learning, Philippine colleges and universities carry out learning through a mix of online (virtual classes) and offline methods (modules and other printed materials).

Many students and teachers have complained of unreliable internet connectivity and excessive workload due to the new mode of instruction.

--With reports from Jaehwa Bernardo and Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

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