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The Commission on Higher Education yesterday announced the postponement of school opening in all colleges and universities from June 8 to June 15 as a precautionary measure against the spread of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

But the order applies only to classes in the college level since the Department of Education did not match the CHED order with a similar order that would have also reset the opening of Classes in private elementary and high schools already set for June 8. DepEd undersecretary for regional operations Ramon Bacani told The Freeman any decision to postpone the opening of classes in private elementary and high schools will be at the discretion of the managements of these schools.

“It will be at the discretion of their managements if they wish to postpone classes following CHED order. There is no problem if these colleges and universities decide to also postpone the opening of their secondary and elementary divisions because they are allowed to do so, provided they are able to comply with the required number of schooldays which is 210 for the entire school year,” Bacani said.

The CHED said the one-week postponement of classes in the college level would allow students coming from abroad to self-quarantine themselves in face of the global threat of the swine flu, said CHED secretary Emmanuel Angeles. Many foreign students studying in the Philippines are still coming in. Some of them come from countries where there are confirmed A(H1N1) cases, thus the rescheduling of the class opening will give them time to self-quarantine,” Angeles said.

The postponement will also allow colleges and universities to extend enrollment, thereby allowing “financially-handicapped” parents to raise money to enroll their children.
CHED regional director Candelario Aytona confirmed receiving the postponement order by phone call yesterday.

He said that as mandated by the tertiary education secretary, the postponement is applicable to all 159 colleges and universities in Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas. He assured, however, that the postponement will have no significant effect on the quality of education.

DepEd regional director Recaredo Borgonia said he will not order the postponement of classes in private elementary and high schools but will leave it to the discretion of the administrators of these schools.