Albert Francis E. Domingo, MD

my flight of ideas

Are Filipino College Students Waterproof?

Posted on | July 26, 2011 | 5 Comments

Whether or not your answer to the question is yes, below is a copy of a recent explanation by the Philippines’ Commission on Higher Education (CHED, official Facebook page here) on the policy and protocol observed by CHED on the suspension of classes at the tertiary/higher education level during weather disturbances.

Do you agree with the “considerations”? Post your feedback in the comments section on this page.

Republic of the Philippines
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION

CHED Does Not Suspend Classes but Schools Can

Following the country’s disaster reduction guidelines and amid inquiries from the public, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has again clarified that it does not declare the suspension of classes for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The policy and protocol observed by CHED is: automatic suspension of classes in higher education with storm signal number 3. Otherwise the decision is left to school heads or local governments. (See attached CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) 34 series of 2010). This policy has been a longstanding one and through regular review and consultation, it has been found to be the most workable and most acceptable to higher education institutions.

The current CHED policy must be understood in the light of several considerations:

1. In the Philippines we have to deal with rain for six months out of the year. Education has to be delivered under these trying conditions. We have no choice but to live with and deal with heavy rains and their aftermath.

2. College students who are young adults should be treated differently from elementary and high school students. Higher education institutions are also different from the basic education institutions which are mainly owned and managed by the Department of Education. HEIs have more autonomy and freedom to make decisions.

3. The suspension of classes should be based on the situations in which schools find themselves. For instance, floods are usually localized and therefore suspension would be appropriate in some areas and not in others. In fact, some HEIs with multiple campuses suspend classes in affected campuses but not in others.

4. Suspension of classes and the loss of class days affect some institutions more seriously than others due to different schedules. HEIs, faculty and students on a trimester system would be more likely to protest a centralized and unilateral suspension of classes to avoid the need for make up classes for the loss of required class days.

Thus, this CHED policy, while not perfect, is the most workable and best suited to the needs of higher education institutions, faculty and students. The Commission on Higher Education is continuously seeking ways to improve on the system and make it work better.

(SGD) PATRICIA B. LICUANAN, Ph.D.
Chairperson

CHED MEMORANDUM ORDER
NO. 34
SERIES OF 2010

SUBJECT: Clarificatory Guidelines for the Suspension of Classes in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) due to Typhoons/ Storms, Flooding, and Other Weather Disturbances

In line with the guidelines of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), the following are the guidelines for the suspension of classes in higher education institutions:

1. Classes at the collegiate level, including graduate school, are automatically suspended if the proper authorities have declared storm signal no. 3 or higher.

2. Classes at the collegiate level, including graduate school, may be suspended at the discretion of heads of HEIs if special circumstances in their area such as flooding, road damage, etc. warrant it.

3. HEI heads or their duly authorized representatives shall make the announcement for the suspension of classes not later than 5′ o clock in the morning of the day when it shall take effect, using all means of communication.

4. Even without the suspension of classes, students who are unable to report to class or participate in scheduled activities such as exams, due to inclement weather, shall be given consideration and be allowed to make up for the missed class or activity.

This CHED Memorandum Order shall supplement previous issuances, specifically CHED Memorandum Order No. 19 series of 2005. Where there are inconsistencies, this Order shall take precedence.

These guidelines shall remain in force and effect until otherwise revoked.

Issued this 22nd day of October 2010, Quezon City.

For the Commission:

(SGD) PATRICIA B. LICUANAN, PhD
Chairperson

 

CHED Policy Re: Suspension of Classes

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Comments

5 Responses to “Are Filipino College Students Waterproof?”

  1. Albert
    July 26th, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

    My comments:

    1. “We have no choice but to live with and deal with heavy rains and their aftermath.” – This is both a fatalistic and fatal pronouncement. Fatalistic, because it seems to be a surrender of the State (through CHED)’s powers granted under the Constitution to ensure the general welfare of its citizens – regardless of age, among other things. Fatal, because such a statement may recklessly expose people to health risks (e.g. leptospirosis, influenza, etc) owing to inclement weather by inadvertently dismissing the value of preventive measures, which include early warnings as to disasters and proactive measures to prevent exposure of citizens to such conditions.

    2. “College students who are young adults should be treated differently from elementary and high school students.” – Without specifically stating why college students as young adults should be treated differently from elementary and high school students, CHED anchors its policy on distinguishing one type of students from another. Please pardon the seemingly tackless quip, but are college students waterproof? Seriously speaking, are they immune to the health risks (e.g. leptospirosis, influenza, etc) posed by inclement weather just because they are around 5-10 years older? The spectrum of diseases to which “young adults” are susceptible may be slightly different from that to which “elementary and high school students” are, but all the same there is still a spectrum of diseases to which young adults are susceptible.

    3. “[F]loods are usually localized and therefore suspension would be appropriate in some areas and not in others.” – It is not only the flooding per se that can expose college students to health risks, but also the cascade of events brought about by flooding. For example, granted that area A is the only locality that floods, areas B and C may be affected traffic-wise such that a college student who is in either area B or C will definitely find it hard to get a ride on mass transit, thus exposing him/her to inclement weather while waiting in vain for a ride. Furthermore, weather disturbances, unlike government functions, cannot be devolved/decentralized into compartments. Storms do not recognize political boundaries.

    4. “HEIs, faculty and students on a trimester system would be more likely to protest a centralized and unilateral suspension of classes to avoid the need for make up classes for the loss of required class days.” – Are these “more likely” protesters the majority of HEIs, faculty and students? Why should policy be laid down in their favor? Perhaps we need to establish, through numbers, which population will benefit (or be harmed) more by a certain policy instead of merely alleging the same.

  2. JJ Duque
    July 26th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

    4. Even without the suspension of classes, students who are unable to report to class or participate in scheduled activities such as exams, due to inclement weather, shall be given consideration and be allowed to make up for the missed class or activity. *
    In other words, you may excuse yourself from class on a rainy day. 🙂

  3. Albert
    July 26th, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

    From Mr. Oscar Picazo (on my FB wall):

    “Silly pieces of memoranda and circulars from what is supposedly the regulator of higher education in the country. It ignores one basic fact: these are not doable rules because the individual colleges and universities can’t possibly communicate quickly with their respective students, which the CHED could do easily just by a uniform announcement…”

  4. Albert
    July 26th, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

    From Edrie Alcanzare (on my Google+ profile):

    “I would like to believe that CHED is taking into account the fact that these students are adults and can therefore take care of themselves. Plus, in professional schools, there is a need for greater number of classroom/experience hours. I for one would hate to have classes cancelled in, say, anatomy only to have insane make-up lectures during weekends.”

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    August 3rd, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    […] ABS CBN News , Albert Domingo, Facebook Page: Hindi WATERPROOF ang mga COLLEGE […]

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