By Archie Villaflores


Amid criticisms over his pronouncement that “flexible learning will continue in 2021 and thereafter,” Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Prospero de Vera III changed his tune and said students may still be able to attend to face-to-face classes again. 

“[I]n the future, kung medyo safe na, pwede nating payagan mag-face-to-face,” he said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo on Monday, May 24. 

De Vera also emphasized the need to “retrofit” schools to assure that minimum health standards can be observed should the government decide to bring back in-person classes.
“Meron pa ring alcohol, washing area, direction and signs, may protocols para ‘pag dumating ang susunod na pandemiya, ligtas pa rin ang mga bata. That is what we mean…We cannot go back as if the pandemic never happened,” he continued. 

However, this is a 180-degree turn from De Vera’s previous statement saying universities and colleges will no longer return to traditional face-to-face classes as the CHED adopted a policy to continue flexible learning in the years to come.

"From now on, flexible learning will be the norm. There is no going back to the traditional, full-packed face-to-face classrooms,” he said in a webinar on Friday, May 21.

De Vera’s remarks earned the ire of many students online as they shared how they have been struggling to cope with the demands of the current education set-up physically, mentally, and financially. 

In the Philippines, face-to-face classes have been suspended since last year as the education sector shifts to using alternative learning modalities amid the ongoing pandemic. 

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