/ 16 August 2020

HIGHER education is not included in the law giving the President the power to move or reschedule the start of classes in case of a state of emergency.

Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero ‘Popoy’ De Vera III made the clarification after President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Department of Education  to move the opening of classes to October 5.

De Vera said Republic Act 11480 which the President signed last July 17 doesn’t cover higher education.

“The operative law that covers the opening of classes in higher education is the CHED Law Republic Act 7722. Sa batas na yan CHED issues guidelines, guide the universities on when they open classes in the exercise of academic freedom,” he said.

De Vera explained that higher education cannot open classes at the same time given that some universities follow trimester and quadmester system.

Also, he said that a university can open classes as long as it is ‘approved by its board depending on the structure of the curriculum’ and on the level of its preparedness.

“School year structure is determined by individual universities in the exercise of academic freedom which is constitutional guarantee for higher education,” De Vera added

According to CHED, RA 7722 is the law that created the commission and abolished the Bureau of Higher Education, and confined the jurisdiction of DepEd to elementary and secondary levels of education.

Last May, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved that colleges and universities can open classes as long as they will fully be online.

In line with it, some universities and colleges have started their classes as early as July, while others will begin their flexible learning this August and early September.