MANILA - The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Wednesday said it has instructed colleges and universities to reschedule subjects that require physical presence of students, due to the threat of the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines.
"Uutusan natin 'yung mga universities na 'yung lahat nung subjects na may [laboratory], OJT, internship etcetera, i-reschedule nila sa second semester," CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera said in a Malacañang briefing.
De Vera said that only regular lectures will be held in the first semester, particularly subjects that don't require physical presence of students.
"Sa first sem, ang ituturo lang lahat ng mga klase na regular na pwede lectures, theoretical dun sa first sem. Imo-move on natin sa second semester yung kailangan pupunta [ang mga estudyante]," he said.
He noted that some colleges and universities are still waiting for guidance from the commission as some areas in the Philippines, especially far-flung villages, don't have access to the internet.
Educational institutions, especially those in Metro Manila, have shifted to online learning to avoid incidents of contamination at their campuses.
Education Sec. Leonor Briones meanwhile reiterated that the opening of classes in public schools on August 24 will proceed despite the extension of the enrollment period until July 15, saying that regions in the Philippines are "fully prepared" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She firmly said her department will not change its position on the date of school re-opening in the country.
"Hindi kami nagbabago sa aming stand Mr. President na maximum August 24 talaga. Kasi sa batas, last day of August [ang re-opening]. So August 24 magbubukas na ng klase, whatever form it is. Ngayon, handang-handa na ang mga regions," Briones told President Rodrigo Duterte, who was at the briefing.
The education chief said simulation of alternative and blended learning through online, radio and TV in Navotas City was "very successful."
The DepEd earlier in the day announced that more than 16 million students have already enrolled.
While public schools are set to start classes on Aug. 24, Briones said that private schools can choose when to start their classes, but its administrators have to justify it.