Villanueva backs gradual reopening of colleges

Villanueva backs gradual reopening of colleges

THE chair of the Senate committee on higher education is backing government’s decision to gradually reopen colleges for face-to-face classes, beginning with those in health and medical courses.

“For as long as it is safe, limited, and complies with health protocols, I see no problem in the joint decision of CHED and DOH to slowly resume classroom learning, “ Senator Joel Villanueva said.

“And it is good that this will be piloted in the hospital setting because the people there will be the first to insist that  measures be strictly followed to keep this mode of instruction safe for all,” he said.

Villanueva said medical schools should be trusted to “create a learning environment where one can acquire knowledge without acquiring the virus in the process.”

He said “some skills should be learned hands on and in person. There are limits to distance learning. The practical application of theories will have to be done in a laboratory or workshop setting.”

But face-to-face instruction should not be at the expense of the student’s health and wellbeing, Villanueva said. “I think that is the number one rule that cannot be compromised as we inch back to conventional classes,” he pointed out.

“Hindi po dapat seatmate or naka sit-in si Covid,” Villanueva said.

If the experiment in medical schools will prove that safe face-to-face classes is feasible, its success can be applied in TESDA classes, to meet the needs of the laid-off workers up for reskilling, Villanueva said

“Mas mabuti po siguro na may isang hiwalay na memorandum sa pagitan ng DOH at TESDA kung papaano sisimulan ang face-to-face tech-voc classes. Hindi ka naman po pwedeng matutong manahi, mag-welding, mag-operate ng heavy equipment sa kapapanood lamang ng YouTube, ” Villanueva said.

Villanueva issued his reminders in reaction to the signing by CHED chairman J. Prospero de Vera III and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III of joint circular outlining the process for higher education institutions intending to hold limited face-to-face classes during the pandemic.

While the Feb. 10 circular acknowledges  “flexible learning”  as still  “the most appropriate and safest pedagogical approach during the pandemic, there might be some instances that face-to-face delivery of certain courses is necessary.”

The roll-out of personalized instruction will begin with health-related degree programs regarded as vital in providing additional manpower support in the health system during the pandemic.

“The subjects or courses under these priority programs shall be allowed for face-to-face delivering are delimited to specialized laboratory courses or hospital-based clinical clerkship/internship/practicum, including clinical rotations for post-graduate medical interns,” the CHED-DOH circular added.

The covered courses include medicine, nursing, medical technology or medical laboratory science, physical therapy, midwifery and public health.

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