The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a massive blow to how educational institutions deliver and facilitate learning. The traditional means of teaching and learning, which involve face-to-face classes, are no longer considered viable pedagogical approaches. This unprecedented reality has forced State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to resort to what we now commonly hear, and others, unfortunately, misunderstand, "Flexible Learning (FL)"— an approach that employs a combination of digital and non-digital technology which does not necessarily require internet connection (Magsambol, 2021).

In line with this sudden shift in the education landscape, BiPSU has helped pioneer the Eastern Visayas Higher Education Institutions- Flexible Learning Management System Consortium (EVHEIs-FLMSC) and currently sits as the lead institution of the organization. The consortium has conducted a series of capability-building workshops and training for faculty & students in Eastern Visayas, including explorations on appropriate and responsive Learning Management Systems (LMS) to help them be onboard on the nitty-gritty of flexible learning. This is in recognition of how disruptive the pandemic is to the core of instructional delivery.

Additionally, at BiPSU, flexible learning has warranted a survey and situation analyses of our stakeholders, the students, faculty, parents, and even business owners to serve as bases and reference points on policies and guidelines relating to FL. Navigating the pipeline of flexible learning has been an ongoing struggle intertwined with opportunities for continual improvement not just for BiPSU but also for other learning institutions.

What we can take away from this black swan in teaching and learning is that it requires concerted action from us. CHED, for instance, called for proposals under the Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF) that grants subsidies to projects concerning teacher education, digitization, and flexible learning. CHED's Institutional Development and Innovation Grant (IDIG) has in fact awarded five million pesos to BiPSU for the project "Subscription and Upgrading of Internet Connection for both Naval and Biliran campuses of Biliran Province State University and Installation of Student Information and Accounting System (SIAS) in Biliran Campus." This grant is expected to facilitate the effective and efficient delivery of online services such as enrollment, tuition payment, research services, among others, to the university's stakeholders.

So when Chair Popoy opined that "There's no going back, 'flexible learning will be the new norm," such is an expression of a clear understanding of the situation on the ground—that moving forward, students and faculty will have the flexibility of teaching and learning in a safe manner, at a pace and environment that leads to quality education that everyone deserves.

Therefore, adopting flexible learning schemes means that we are no longer entrenched to dwell on traditional in-person conduct of classes and activities. It spells an eclectic way of teaching and learning that can be facilitated on and off-campus—a way to future-proof our education in response to the reality that uncertainties are here to stay.

References:

  1. https://www.rappler.com/nation/ched-de-vera-response-critics-do-not-understand-flexible-learning
  2. https://www.rappler.com/nation/ched-says-flexible-learning-new-norm

Biliran Province State University (BiPSU) will host a 2-day Strategic Foresight Masterclass for its 25 executives on July 12-13, 2021, in collaboration with the Center for Engaged Foresight (CEF).

"The Leading from the Future: Strategic Foresight Masterclass was designed to introduce, immerse, expose and increase the anticipatory knowledge and capacities of the Biliran Province State University Executive Leadership. This is curated to provide key leadership and key officials with the necessary working knowledge and insight to use futures as an asset, resource, and tool to change and transform today," Professor Shermon O. Cruz, Director and Futurist at Center for Engaged Foresight (CEF)and Chair at the Association of Professional Futurists expressed during a coordination meeting with BiPSU on May 10

The Strategic Foresight Masterclass will introduce, discuss and immerse participants in an action learning journey that includes:

  • What is and Why Futures Thinking?
  • What is and Why Strategic Foresight, Anticipatory Leadership and Governance in University Futures?
  • What is the Association of Professional Futurists Six Critical Steps to Building Anticipatory Leadership and Governance?
  • Learning how to use powerful strategic foresight tools and methods.
  • Present and discuss strategic foresight case studies in university and food futures.
  • Consolidate insights and determine the next steps for BiPSU's futures thinking program and research agenda.

According to UNESCO, the lack of futures literacy impedes us from discovering and creating new ideas and navigate unknown terrains. Futures thinking enables people and organizations to identify and re-imagine the future (Miller, 2018). Decision-making in education often focuses on the short-term, looking to make established practices more efficient. By opening perspectives beyond immediate constraints, Futures Thinking enhances policymakers' and practitioners' capacity to anticipate change, grasp opportunities, and cope with threats.

"It is expected that the masterclass would serve as a springboard for our university officials toward greater understanding and eventual application of FFT in our institution, especially as we prepare ourselves for the Institutional Strategic Planning for the fiscal year 2022 come July of this year. This activity could also serve as preliminary preparations for an establishment of a Center for Strategic Foresight and Future Studies in the region," Mr. Joedel Peñaranda, Director of Institutional Planning Office (IPO) and Lead Organizer of the event, stressed during the meeting.

Dr. Marianne B. Mendoza, Director of Research & Innovation (RIO) Office, also shared during a coordination meeting today that the activity is crucial in the finalization of the University Research Agenda as Strategic Foresight and Futures-Thinking could serve as a rudder to where the institutional will traverse years from now.

Biliran Province State University (BiPSU) received recognitions during the virtual awarding of the 2021 Gawad CHEDRO VIII last May 20.

The said award-giving activity spearheaded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was organized to recognize Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the region which have made exemplary performance in different areas including the conduct of COVID-19-Related Activities, securing of Certificate of Program Compliance (CoPC), and production of graduates of the Scholarship for Graduate Studies- Local Program, among others. In an interview, BiPSU University President Dr. Victor C. Cañezo, Jr. noted that BiPSU's recognition is not just a milestone of the institution, it is also the success of all its employees and stakeholders working behind.

"Being an awardee by CHED with these three recognitions is a proof of our continued commitment in serving quality education for our students while ensuring that our employees and the community are also well taken cared of," he added.

BiPSU has eight COPC

With BiPSU's efforts in advancing its programs to ensure that quality education is provided to its students, BiPSU was again recognized by CHED with its eight programs awarded with CoPC. Certificate of Program Compliance or CoPC is a recognition by CHED that the degree programs offered by an SUC are in full compliance with the policies, standards, and guidelines set by the commission. BiPSU's eights programs with CoPC include Bachelor of Science in Information Systems (BSIS), Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management (BSHM), Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), Bachelor of Arts in Communication (BA Comm), Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEEd), Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEd), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

BiPSU in COVID-19 initiatives

Meanwhile, BiPSU's initiative to help the community in the mitigation of COVID-19 was also recognized in the said awarding. As soon as the province was put into community quarantine last year, BiPSU immediately extended its resources to Biliranons and the nearby cities. Among these initiatives include provision of meals, washable facemasks and PPEs to frontliners around the province, distribution of improvised intubation box to the Biliran Provincial Hospital (BPH), different Rural Health Units (RHUs) and nearby healthcare facilities, and extension of assistance to stranded students in Biliran. According to Dr. Cañezo, BiPSU and the rest of the community share the same fight, and as an institution with something to offer, BiPSU had always extended and will continue to extend its services to the community.

BiPSU among SUCs with highest SGS grads

BIPSU was also recognized for producing graduates of the Scholarship of Graduate Studies (SGS)-Local Program Graduates of Sending Higher Education Institutions (SHEIs). With 14 graduates from the Main Campus and four from the Biliran Campus, BiPSU is one of the SUCs with the highest numbers of graduates in the said scholarship program. SGS is a program of CHED that provides graduate student-recipients with scholarship privileges that include tuition cost, stipend, book allowance, and transportation allowance. BiPSU, a Sending Higher Education Institution that nominates personnel for the said scholarship, has six graduates of Doctor's Degree and eight graduates of Master's Degree.

Moreover, the 2021 Gawad CHEDRO VIII, attended by the private and public HEI Presidents in the region, is in line with the week-long celebration of the 1st National Higher Education Day and the CHED 27th Founding Anniversary.

Biliran Province State University (BiPSU) President, Dr. Victor C. Cañezo, joins the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Global Academic Leadership Program for State Universities and Colleges (SUC) Presidents (GALP-SUC), with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) as the identified delivering Institution.

The program “aims to equip participants with concepts, frameworks, principles and innovative tools to assist them towards becoming better leaders and strengthen the problem-solving, decision-making and team-building skills of the participants given the challenges of the 21st-century learnings and the new perspective of the 4th industrial revolution,” the School of Executive Education and Lifelong Learning (SEEL) of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) stressed in its program primer.

CHED GALP is a 40-half day live online program with Four (4) modules on Education Environment in VUCA Times, Institutional Building, Academic Leadership, and Resource Mobilization that will be discussed and expounded on the program. Learning team exercises, simulation activities, facilitated discussions, case study sessions, and presentations are among the learning methodologies during the course.

The program essentially aims to “provide the essential and transformative skills for the global academic leadership of SUC Presidents and CHED Directors to meet the needs of the 21st century and support the new vision and mission of CHED that will lead the SUCs to SMART Universities” Scholarships for Graduate Studies Abroad and International Relations (SGSA-IR) team under the International Affairs Staff (IAS) office underscored in its notice of nomination.

Dr. Cañezo’s participation has also been realized through the favorable nomination of Dr. Aldrin A. Darilag, CHRP, RMT, RN, Commissioner of CHED, and Chairperson of the BiPSU Governing Board.

 
The Governing Board or the Board of Regents (BoR) is the university's highest policy-making body. The composition, manners of appointment, powers & duties of the members, and other functions of the Board emanate from the Republic Act 8292, otherwise known as the Higher Education Modernization Act (HEMA) of 1997.

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