The head of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has clarified that he did not mean the resumption of face-to-face classes would be “impossible” when he said in a webinar that “flexible learning” was here to stay.

In a news conference in Cebu, CHEd Chairman Prospero de Vera claimed some critics refused to understand the concept of “flexible learning” as they have a “political agenda to push for.”

“Flexible learning is very simple,” he explained. “It is a policy where the university (has) the authority to determine the correct mix of delivery systems appropriate on the ground.”

He emphasized three conditions on what kind of flexible learning modality could be used. These are the Covid-19 situation; the condition of the students, faculty, and employees; and internet connectivity and gadgets used in online learning.

“Let them (higher educational institutions) mix and match the various options. Flexible learning is not equal to distance or online education,” de Vera said.

De Vera said the education industry had adopted in the past year a mix of modular, online (asynchronous and synchronous), and, recently, limited face-to-face classes for selected medical programs.

As of writing, CHEd has authorized more than 60 schools nationwide to conduct limited face-to-face classes after retrofitting their buildings to become “Covid-19 resilient.”

De Vera assured the public that if the Covid-19 situation improved, he would recommend to the president limited face-to-face classes for engineering, information technology, maritime, and industrial technology programs.

“Will there be face-to-face in the future? It depends on the condition on the ground. Eventually, if we achieve herd immunity,” he said. “But it will not be in the old tradition type.”

The CHEd chairman also asked those spreading “fake news” and “wrong information” on his statements to “stop.”

“You are not doing anyone a favor. Our students are already suffering a lot of stuff. Please don’t let them suffer by spreading wrong information and agitating them,” de Vera said. Ryan Sorote