BusinessMirror

Spark plans le­gal ac­tion vs CHED chief

- Rod­er­ick L. Abad

AC­TIVIST or­ga­ni­za­tion Sama­han ng Pro­gre­si­bong Ka­bataan (Spark) re­cently re­vealed its plan to file cases against Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHED) Chair­man Pros­pero de Vera for al­legedly aban­don­ing the agency’s man­date on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions.

The group em­pha­sized de Vera should have is­sued a num­ber of mem­o­randa guar­an­tee­ing the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of ed­u­ca­tion to the marginal­ized sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to Spark, the depart­ment failed to re­lease guide­lines on the con­duct of on­line classes in light of the ad­verse ef­fects wrought by the past five ty­phoons that slammed the coun­try.

In a pre­vi­ous news ar­ti­cle, the CHED chair­man said sus­pen­sion of classes and post­pone­ment of dead­lines de­pend on the man­date of in­di­vid­ual school ad­min­is­tra­tions, and that classes can­not be can­celed for the en­tire coun­try “if the ef­fects are only in some parts...”

“What CHED of­fi­cials must re­al­ize is that dis­tance learn­ing can no longer be cov­ered by their present guide­lines, which are al­ready out­dated,” Spark’s spokesman John Lazaro coun­tered. “With on­line classes, sus­pen­sion of univer­sity op­er­a­tions can no longer be ter­ri­to­rial in scope. One may be en­rolled at a school in Metro Manila, but also re­sid­ing in, [say, Legazpi City,] which lies in the tra­di­tional route of ty­phoons.”

Sev­eral stu­dent coun­cils and cam­pus or­ga­ni­za­tions have been call­ing for aca­demic breaks to class sus­pen­sions and post­pone­ments of aca­demic dead­lines for the last two weeks af­ter Ty­phoon Quinta bat­tered the Bi­col re­gion, mak­ing dis­tance learn­ing dif­fi­cult due to un­sta­ble on­line con­nec­tions.

Spark, for in­stance, ap­pealed for a week­long na­tion­wide can­cel­la­tion of classes in all lev­els un­til Novem­ber 19 due to the con­tin­u­ing on­slaught of pow­er­ful ty­phoons. The group in­sisted the present setup that au­tho­rizes heads of lo­cal gov­ern­ment units or school ad­min­is­tra­tors to de­clare class sus­pen­sions based on the fore­casts of the weather bureau is only ap­pli­ca­ble for face- to- face classes.

“First came... Quinta which wrecked Bi­col,” Lazaro said. “Then... Rolly, Siony, Tonyo and Ulysses, which fur­ther set back re­cov­ery ef­forts in al­ready bat­tered re­gions. Sig­nif­i­cantly, 11 of the coun­try’s 17 re­gions have been af­fected with floods, power out­ages, and in­ter­mit­tent to no In­ter­net con­nec­tion.”

He added the sheer scope of the storms and the num­ber of fam­i­lies af­fected in 11 re­gions of the coun­try are valid enough to con­sider that classes across all lev­els na­tion­wide must be can­celed im­me­di­ately, so that fam­i­lies have time to re­cover, and in­fra­struc­ture dam­ages be re­paired.

Apart from the lack of guide­lines on class sus­pen­sions, the youth group pointed out CHED’S gross neg­li­gence for con­sis­tently miss­ing out on its thrust since the start of the pan­demic.

“De Vera has left us no choice but to fi­nally take le­gal ac­tion in or­der to at­tain jus­tice for the mil­lions he has con­sis­tently aban­doned. Stonewalli­ng our le­git­i­mate pleas is not pub­lic ser­vice; we de­serve more. See you in court, Mr. De Vera,” Lazaro de­clared.

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