MANILA (UPDATE) — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) launched Tuesday an online portal containing free learning materials for students and educators in tertiary education, providing wider access to resources as in-person classes remain prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The web app, PHL CHED Connect, contains learning resources on a variety of disciplines including agriculture, architecture, business, engineering, fine arts, humanities, mass communication, and medical studies, among others.
CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera said the platform was developed so students and educators could access learning materials any time through their devices.
"It contains higher education course materials in text, media and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning and research purposes," he said at the virtual launch of the web app.
PHL CHED Connect can be accessed at https://phlconnect.ched.gov.ph/.
So far, 16 higher education institutions, such as the University of the Philippines and STI College, have contributed to the platform.
De Vera said they would fund colleges and universities that would develop their own learning materials based on the ones available on PHL CHED Connect.
"For this school year, the commission will fund the development of content so that different faculty members and universities, after looking at the resources shared by our top universities, will start developing their own," he said.
The commission also partnered with international entities, such as the British Council Philippines, and schools in other countries, like Canada's University of Saskatchewan, to acquire learning materials for the web app.
The CHED assured the quality of the content on the platform as they were screened by the contributing schools and the commission's technical experts and officials.
De Vera added that PHL CHED Connect does not "solve all the problems of higher education" in the country amid the pandemic but ensures the availability of online resources.
"It is targeted for a specific requirement of flexible learning," he said.
In-person classes have been discouraged to avoid exposing students, teachers and school personnel to the risk of getting COVID-19, which has so far infected over 30,000 in the country.
Colleges and universities will start their school year depending on their learning delivery mode, CHED earlier said.
Higher education institutions using full online education, for instance, may open any time after May 31, while those with flexible learning mode can start in August.
De Vera has said the commission was studying the possibility of allowing in-person classes in areas where there are no cases of COVID-19.