Press Release
September 13, 2021

Tolentino pushes the resumption of limited face-to-face classes for vaccinated post-graduate students

MANILA - The national government should allow the resumption of limited face-to-face classes for post-graduate students, Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino said.

In his weekly radio program over DZRH, Tolentino said he sees no problem if graduate school and law school students will be allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to attend their respective physical classes for as long as they are fully vaccinated.

According to Tolentino, most post-graduate students belong to the country's working-class sector and are eligible to be vaccinated. The lawmaker noted that allowing them to attend physical classes on a limited basis won't be too risky, as long as they are vaccinated and still abide by authorities' minimum health standards.

He added that faculty members, other school officials, and personnel must be fully vaccinated before allowing post-graduate institutions to resume their respective face-to-face classes.

Last February, President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the recommendation of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) allowed the resumption of limited face-to-face classes for medical schools and other health science institutions in the country.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has also recommended a gradual resumption of face-to-face classes for the academic year 2021-2022, noting that the current blended learning scheme has deeply affected the country's quality of education.

During last week's preliminary discussion for the proposed P5.024-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua told members of the Senate Committee on Finance that a year without having face-to-face classes will result in a projected P11-trillion loss in productivity over the next 40 years.

Chua explained that a year without physical classes would permanently affect students' abilities, especially when they enter the labor sector after graduation.

Tolentino adhered to the latest assessment made by NEDA, noting the quality of learning accumulation of the pupils, both in the undergraduate and post-graduate studies, went down considering the questionable effectiveness of distance learning.

Tolentino earlier stressed that gradual resumption of face-to-face classes in low-risk island provincesor those with low or zero COVID-19 infection rateshould be allowed by the Inter-Agency Taskforce (IATF) while still abiding with existing minimum health protocol guidelines.

He noted that the current blended learning curriculum being imposed by CHED and the Department of Education (DepEd) isn't effective, considering the current connectivity problem of the country's telcos.

Meanwhile, Tolentino suggested that dormitory owners and operators should only accept vaccinated tenants if the national government decides to allow limited face-to- face classes in low-risk areas to prevent the further spread of the virus.

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