by Ann M. Koenig, AACRAO International Education Services
Following the “super typhoon” Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippes, in early November, the Philippines Commission on Higher Education (CHED) set January 15, 2014, as a goal date for reopening universities. University World News, a higher education news source based in London, reports that while some classes did start on or around that date, those in the area hit hardest, the eastern Visayas region, will need varying degrees of reconstruction work before classes can resume.
Around 40 higher education institutions were affected by the storm. The CHED ordered all institutions closed on November 14, once the extent of the damage became clear. Some school and university buildings continue to serve as shelters for the displaced, and many students have been involved in clean-up and relief work. Updates can be found on the Web sites of some institutions. Here are some updates from various news sources.
Capiz State University sustained damage to nine of its 10 campuses. The university’s Web site does not give any updates, but the University World News report notes that some classes were able to meet last week.
The massive destruction in the Tacloban area includes heavy damage to some University of the Philippines (UP) facilities in Tacloban, including library and classroom buildings and student dormitories. Among its current responses to the crisis, the UP system is offering some students tuition and fee waivers and the opportunity to cross-enroll at other UP campuses that were not affected by the storm. It appears that UP facilities may not be fully functional and ready for full use until June. The reopening of some classes at the UP Tacoban City campus on January 18 was accompanied by student protests calling for more widespread tuition relief from the UP, as well as priority treatment by the government in the funding of building repairs and restoration of student housing and classroom equipment. The UP campus in Palo was also destroyed, and one question considered by the UP is whether to rebuild it or consolidate resources at other campuses.