CHED to universities: Exercise leniency and understanding in grading students

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — The Commission on Higher Education maintained its decision against mass promotion amid the COVID-19 crisis, but encouraged universities and colleges to “exercise leniency and understanding” in grading students.

In a memo, CHED recognized possible problems like lack of internet connectivity in fulfilling academic requirements through alternatives to in-campus learning like online classes. It said that students should be allowed to complete their requirements after the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera told CNN Philippines that it is not within their power to order 1,900 universities to give passing grades to all students and allow them to advance to the next academic level. He insisted that different institutions have different capacities and requirements.

Dapat ang mga pamantasan – ‘pag pinagdesisyunan nila ito ay balansehin ang interes ng lahat ng estudyante. Kung anuman ang kanilang magiging desisyon ‘yan ay exercise of academic freedom. ‘Yan ay gagalangin ng komisyon,” De Vera said.

[Translation: Universities should balance the interest of students when making their decisions. Whatever they decide, that is an exercise of academic freedom. The commission will respect that.”]

De Vera also explained that universities cannot do mass promotion, because there won’t be a clear basis in grading students.

He added that some may need more than just a passing mark.

Papaano naman 'yung estudyante na naghahabol ng honors? Papaano iyong mga under scholarship na kailangan nila ng grade point average? Papaano iyong mga gustong mag-graduate school?” De Vera said.

[Translation: What about students who are running for honors? How about students who are under scholarships and need a grade point average? How about students who want to qualify for graduate school?]

He also pointed out that students of some degree programs, like pharmacy, midwifery and nursing, are required by law to undergo internships and on-the-job trainings.

Kung gagawain mo automatic pass ‘yan, baka 'di naman sila makakuha ng licensure test,” De Vera said.

[Translation: If you make everyone automatically pass, some students may not qualify for a licensure test.]

Flexible academic schedule

According to CHED, universities using the old academic schoolyear of June to May are authorized to finish their current semester, trimester, quarter by April 30.

Those using the August to July calendar may extend their semester for a maximum of one month after the lifting of the ECQ.

De Vera said some state universities in provinces without COVID-19 cases, like Batanes, Quirino and Guimaras, are even studying the possibility of resuming regular face-to-face classes.

He explained, though, that this will not be the usual in-campus group sessions but just personal consultations.