Ensuring the continuity of tertiary education amid the pandemic, the Batanes State College (BSC) has been preparing for the “new normal” in higher education before the academic year 2020-2021 opens.
BSC President, Dr. Alfonso Cholo Simon, said that the northernmost state-owned college institution has been “exhaustively setting up” for the opening of the first semester by implementing institutional training design for faculty members, ensuring safety within the premises of the college, and instituting policies for the new normal.
“We are taking this opportunity to upskill, reskill, and cross skill by attending webinars on various topics. I am certain that by August, our preparedness to face the new normal of higher education would already be very high,” President Simon said.

Institutional Webinars

Towards the end of the semester, BSC faculty conducted an institutional webinar series on flexible learning facilitated by Ferdinand Bulusan, an assistant professor of BSC, national teacher-trainer on instructional materials development, and consultant of the Department of Education on the curriculum for the gifted for secondary English.

Bulusan trained the faculty members to reconfigure their syllabi and craft modules for printed and online platforms using the tenets of flexible learning.
As a result of the output-based training initiatives, faculty members have started reconfiguring their syllabi and preparing their printed learning packets and online materials for their respective courses to teach in the next semester.
Their outputs are hoped to be ready by the second week of August, in time for the first semester’s opening by August 24.
Faculty members also learned paramount pedagogical strategies and flexible assessment techniques in delivering instruction using various modalities.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office 2 shared a part of the BSC training-series to other higher education institutions through a webinar last June 18.
BSC instructors were also trained on using VSmart and Google Classroom as Learning Management Systems for the next academic year.

Learning Continuity Plan

BSC has also been collaboratively crafting comprehensive policies for the next academic year inscribed on its learning continuity plan (LCP).
Dr. Simon said that the learning continuity plan of BSC follows the Q-RAC framework, prepared explicitly by Bulusan.
Our learning continuity plan is so comprehensive because it captures four pillars of our institution—Quality, Resiliency, Access, and Capability (Q-RAC). Under these pillars are specific and research-driven policies for the new normal,” Simon said.
In creating the BSC’s LCP, Simon added that they conducted speedy research and established constant coordination with the Batanes LGUs and community members.
Interim policies on instructional delivery, disaster responsiveness, professional development, and other processes to ensure full operation of the college are written in the LCP.
The LCP is scheduled to be presented to the Board in the next regular meeting.

Continuing Professional Development

Aside from the institutional webinars, the BSC administration is daily updating the list of webinars that its faculty members could attend, even if instructors are on their summer break.
Such a daily-updated list includes CHED-sponsored and externally hosted webinars to better prepare the faculty members in their instructional delivery.
BSC also provides links of webinars to the administrative staff, as they are also affected in the shifting to the new normal.
Simon said that “no employee is left behind” during the shift to the new normal and after the pandemic shall have been completely solved.