With Typhoon Glenda (international code name: Rammasun) expected to stay in the Philippine area of responsibility until Friday at the latest, local government units had announced class suspensions in their respective constituencies for today, July 15. Similar declarations are expected to be made for tomorrow.
One common question thrown around in social network sites during times like these pertain to the authority of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to suspend classes for the tertiary level.
The quick answer is no, and this post will explain why. In a memorandum issued two years, CHED has made it its official policy that it will not issue class suspensions. Read CHED memorandum #12 – 2012 in this link.
It referred instead to the national government’s guidelines for automatic class suspensions as elucidated in Executive Order 66:
a. When Signal No. 1 is raised by PAGASA, classes at the pre-school level, in the affected area, shall be automatically cancelled or suspended.
b. When Signal No. 2 is raised by PAGASA, classes at the pre-school, elementary and secondary levels, in the affected area, shall be automatically cancelled or suspended,
c. When Signal No. 3 or higher is raised by PAGASA, classes at pre-school, elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels, in the affected area, including graduate school, as well as work in all government offices, shall be automatically cancelled or suspended.
The fact that students in the college level usually have classes even if classes in elementary and high school are already suspended had been pointed out a lot in recent years. The name of one popular Facebook page sums up this sentiment: “Pag may bagyo, College lang may klase. Anong tingin niyo samin, waterproof?“
In a subsequent statement posted on its website, CHED pointed out that being visited by a lot of typhoons is normal for the Philippines and that “education needs to be delivered even under these trying conditions.”
It also added that college students are young adults “and should be treated differently from elementary and high school students.”
In other words, CHED insists that class suspensions should be based on the situations in which schools find themselves in. For example, universities in flood prone areas like the De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas are more likely to suspend classes than University of the Philippines Diliman
As noted above, local government units have the power to suspend classes at all levels for their respective communities.