ILOILO CITY - Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson J. Prospero E. De Vera III on Thursday visited school campuses to push for school-based vaccination here as part of their preparations for the expansion of limited face-to-face classes.
iI is easier if vaccination will be done in schools as universities have big facilities that they can convert into a vaccination center, De Vera said.
He said the progress of the vaccination rollout can be easily monitored since they have their list of enrollees and students.
Currently, the nationwide vaccination rate for students is at 42 percent and 72 percent for faculty and employees.
Inoculation of teachers and workers started in April this year while student vaccination kicked off only on Oct. 15 when the country allowed young people aged 12-17 to get the jab against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
"The 40 percent is already a high number given the fact that they started only on Oct. 15. Now we want it to go higher faster," de Vera said.
Vaccination hesitancy is not an issue in schools, De Vera said, as he was informed that West Visayas State University (WVSU) has around 60 percent vaccination rate while the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U) will submit its selected students to vaccination on November 26.
He thanked the universities for being flexible amid the pandemic.
De Vera, together with several Ilonggo bike enthusiasts, visited various universities and selected grantees of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), through the "Padyak to claim victory for free higher education".
"This year we are graduating the first batch of Filipino students who completed their education for free. I thought it was only proper to claim it because we have already proof of concept, we prove that we could do it and I started biking around different regions," De Vera said in a press conference.
He said 1.6 million Filipinos enrolled in 200 public universities in the country are no longer paying their miscellaneous fees and it is projected that this coming year, the enrollees will increase to 1.8 million.
The free tuition started in 2017 while the no miscellaneous fees was introduced in 2018.
Some 500,000 students are likewise recipients of the TES and 200,000 are recipients of the Tulong Dunong, a grants-in-aid scholarship program of CHED.
"All in all more than 2 million Filipinos are now being assisted by the government," De Vera said.
He added that amid the health pandemic, cycling has become an acceptable norm. (PNA)