Mass promotion of students to be decided by universities, colleges – CHED

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21)— The Commission on Higher Education said Tuesday it will leave it up to universities and colleges to implement a "mass promotion" policy for students amid the COVID-19 crisis.

CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera told CNN Philippines that institutions and professors have the "academic freedom" to decide whether to give students automatic passing marks.

"Iyan ay pinapaubaya natin sa mga indibidwal na pamantasan. Iyan ay exercise ng academic freedom," De Vera said in an interview with Newsroom Ngayon.

"Hindi ako sang-ayon na magbigay ng pangmalawakang desisyon na hindi sinasang-ayon ang kakayanan ng pamantasan," the chairman added.

[Translation: We're leaving it up to the institutions. That is an exercise of academic freedom. I don't agree with giving a universal decision that will not benefit institutions.]

The issue of mass promotion was put in the spotlight following debates of several student-netizens on their universities' end-of-semester policies.

Some have pushed for mass promotion to protect student welfare, adding that the current COVID-19 situation is not a "conducive time" for learning. Other netizens meanwhile said the move would be "unfair" for fellow pupils.

CHED said it will respect any decision, given that some schools have "different requirements for different degree programs."

Ateneo De Manila University earlier this month announced it will give students passing marks and automatic promotion, with the semester shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Education Department, on the other hand, remained firm on its stand against mass promotion, saying the agency has no existing policy on the matter.

DepEd is in charge of basic education, covering elementary and secondary schools as well as alternative learning systems.

"We don’t agree with the mass promotion because we don’t have a policy of mass promotion," Education Secretary Leonor Briones told The Source early Tuesday.

Briones said the department had already "anticipated the problem" of class cancellations prior to the implementation of the community quarantine in several regions in the country.

She added officials have already rolled out a department directive, which would help teachers plot requirements for students' grades.

"We issued a memorandum kung paano ico-compute 'yung mga grades, anong additional work kailangan ng mga bata. So that matter is already settled," Briones noted.

[Translation: We issued a memorandum on how to compute the grades, what additional work the kids would need. So that matter is already settled.]