CHED deserves strongest rebuke for pushing “flexible learning” as new norm

Filipino students and youth are fully justified when they raised a howl of protest against the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that the school system will not return to face-to-face classes.

The other day, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III declared that “From now on, flexible learning will be the norm. There is no going back to the traditional full-packed, face-to-face classrooms.”

The CHED chairman seems to be completely ignorant of the toll of its broken “flexible learning” scheme on millions of student’s learning and mental health. He is playing deaf to the cries and complaints of students, as well as teachers, over the growing crisis of learning at all levels of the educational system.

De Vera is painting a false rosy picture of the “flexible learning” system in the vain attempt to justify the government’s failure to ensure the safe opening of person-to-person classes. He is using the Covid-19 and future pandemics to exonerate Duterte and himself for their lack of action to raise the safety standards of schools to levels necessary to adhere to health protocols.

The basic fact is that the welfare and future of youth are among the lowest rungs of Duterte’s budget priorities. Without enough funds, the CHED, as well as the Department of Education, are making no plans to push person-to-person classes. This will require the government and the capitalist school owners to spend to build more schools or retrofit old ones with bigger classrooms and wider spaces to prevent congestion, as well as to hire more teachers to space apart class schedules.

Filipino students are victims of the gross incompetence of Duterte and his education officials. While around the world, education officials are doing research and exerting efforts to put reforms in place for safe schools, in the Philippines, Duterte simply wants students to “just stay at home.”

Together with their teachers, students must stand up and take back their future. It is high time to go out and manifest your indignation against the failed response to the needs of education and demand concrete steps to ensure the safe reopening of face-to-face classes as the basic channel of teaching and learning.

CHED deserves strongest rebuke for pushing "flexible learning" as new norm