Updated Policies and Guidelines on Open Learning and Distance Education
CHED Memorandum Order No. 035-00

November 27, 2000


SUBJECT : Updated Policies and Guidelines on Open Learning and Distance Education

In accordance with the pertinent provisions of


General Policy

SECTION 1. Section 1, Article XIV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates that the States shall "protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make education accessible to all." Furthermore, Section 2, Article XIV of the same provides that the State shall "establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society, and that the State shall encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning, independent, and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to the community needs."

SECTION 2. CHED is mandated to maintain and uphold the ideals of quality and excellence in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

SECTION 3. CHED takes cognizance of the need to make quality education accessible to a greater number of qualified Filipinos.

SECTION 4. CHED recognizes the education and acquisition of higher learning take place both within and beyond the confines of classrooms.

SECTION 5. CHED recognizes that non-formal and informal learning systems complement the formal system.


Definition of Terms

SECTION 6. Open Learning and Distance Education (OL/DE) are alternative systems of education. They emphasize the opening of opportunities by overcoming barriers that result from geographical isolation, personal or work commitments or conventional course structures which have often prevented people from realizing their educational goals.

SECTION 7. Open Learning (OL) is a philosophy of learning that is learner-centered and flexible, enabling learners to learn at the time, place and pace which satisfies their circumstances and requirements.

SECTION 8. Distance Education (DE) is a mode of educational delivery whereby teacher and learner are separated in time and space and instruction is delivered through specially designed materials and methods and supported by organizational and administrative structures and arrangements.

SECTION 9. The CHED definitions of a university, school, and institution shall remain. See the full text of the definitions on Annex A.


Implementing Guidelines

SECTION 10. Qualification of HEIs

10.1 CHED identified Centers of Excellence (COEs)/Centers of Development (CODs) and/or recognized HEIs with Level III Accreditation or CHED equivalent in the program applied for shall be allowed to offer OL/DE Programs subject to specific policies and guidelines provided in this policy.

SECTION 11. Components of Open and Distance Learning

11.1 Curriculum Development

11.1.1 An Institution shall go through a two-step process to earn approval for OL/DE Programs. The process shall be implemented by the Central Office after the CHED Regional Office (CHED-RO) transmitted the application to the CHED-Office of Programs and Standards (OPS). The process includes recommendation for approval of content from the Technical Panel for the Discipline and recommendation for approval of the delivery system from the Technical Committee for OL/DE and approval of the Commission.

11.1.2 The system of assessment of learners' performance in every course shall be part of the curriculum submitted to the Commission for approval upon recommendation of Technical Panels.

11.2 Materials Development

11.2.1 The instructional materials development component of OL/DE focuses on the preparation of learning packages in print and non-print forms. Specifically, its areas of concern are:

* Choice of media to be used by various content points developed by the subject matter specialist group;

* Development of media designs, formats and approaches;

* Actual technical production of prototypes;

* Pretest of these prototypes and mass production of revised prototypes, for distribution by the student support component.

* Packaged materials may be included provided these meet the requirements that have been set on this policy.

Concretely, therefore

11.2.2 The Institution shall prepare a set of well-written, well-structured and well-tested developmental and appropriate instructional materials for every course.

11.2.3 The Institution shall provide a pool of qualified subject matter specialist with at least a Masters Degree in the subject area they are assigned to develop, instructional design specialist, course writers and production design specialists.

11.2.4 The institution shall submit to CHED its self-instructional materials at least one year prior to the intended opening of the program. Or, the Institution may opt to submit its self-instructional materials on a yearly basis at least one year prior to the intended opening of the program.

11.2.5 The self-instructional materials shall be evaluated by a CHED-Technical Committee of Reviewers.

11.2.6 The self-instructional materials shall undergo approval following a two-step process, namely, approval for recommendation from the Technical Committee of Reviewers for Content and approval for recommendation from the Technical Committee of Reviewers for Delivery System.

The Institution shall undertake a periodic internal review, evaluation and updating process for all its instructional materials.

11.3 Delivery Mode/Strategies

11.3.1 OL/DE may be delivered by way of the following media; print, radio, audio-video cassette tapes, television, telephone, computer software, CD-ROM, on-line delivery services, correspondence feedback, face to face sessions, etc.

11.3.2 OL/DE may be delivered by: autonomous OL/DE institutions or independent OL/DE department s of a conventional or traditional institute, college or university or OL/DE departments of different institutions (consortium model).

11.4 Student Assessment

11.4.1 OL/DE institutions shall prepare a set of validated instruments or assessment process on performance standards to gauge the learner's progress in the course. Frequency of academic assessment/evaluation and the manner in which these are administered must also be indicated.

11.4.2 The Institutions, through its duly authorized representative, shall conduct the final evaluation of the learner's performance for every course face-to-face at the Learning Center or at a designated venue.

11.5 Student Support Services

11.5.1 The Institution shall maintain faculty-student-dialogue in strategic sites and/or establish Learning Centers or Linkages with other HEIs to ensure greater access to its clientele for admission, tutorial, counseling, testing and evaluation activities.

11.5.2 The Institution shall provide clear admission policies and procedures for applicants in line with CHED standards.

11.5.3 The Institution shall provide for an efficient and reliable communication system and media support including equipment and facilities.

11.5.4 The Institution shall show evidence of regular monitoring of learners' progress.

11.5.5 The Institution shall provide library and learning resources for the students.

SECTION 12. Management and Administration of Distance Education and Open Learning

12.1 Program Management

12.1.1 The Institution shall designate a competent key person who will manage the program.

12.1.2 Applicants must satisfy the entrance requirements of the Institution.

12.1.3 OL is only for graduate programs.

12.1.4 Management of OL must develop a strong institutional ethos and management systems for the institution. CHED requires of OL programs the following:

* A clear institutional policy and procedures for managing information, guidance and enrolment - (e.g. duration of the study, system of equivalency for academic credit accreditation, required contacts between mentor and learner, ration between mentors and learners, etc.)

* A clear institutional policy and procedures for managing learning resources - (e.g. use of wide range of information/communication technology, system of networks with other institutions and agencies, etc.)

* A clear institutional policy and procedures for managing mentor and learner support systems.

* A clear institutional policy and procedures for managing assessment system - (e.g. monitoring learning accomplishment, quality assurance measures, etc.)


Role Of CHED

SECTION 13. The Commission on Higher Education shall create a Technical Committee for OL/DE to evaluate the delivery system and instructional materials for OL/DE and make the appropriate recommendation for approval to the Commission.

SECTION 14. The Commission on Higher Education shall conduct periodic monitoring and evaluation of OL/DE Programs offered by HEIs.

SECTION 15. The initial authority to operate is a Permit followed by Recognition which includes granting of diplomas, degrees and other entitlements. However, if all requirements are met at application, the Recognition may be immediately granted. This authority shall be granted solely by CHED Central Office on recommendation of the Technical Committee for OL/DE.

SECTION 16. CHED shall encourage voluntary accreditation. It will recognize only one body of CHED - recognized institutions offering Open Learning and Distance Education programs. This body shall be responsible for:

16.1 Formulating the standards of accreditation; and

16.2 Issuing accreditation status as defined by the standards.


Transitory Provision

SECTION 17. HEIs operating OL/DE programs whose recognition was granted by the DECS prior to the creation of CHED and


Repealing Clause

SECTION 18. This CMO supersedes the



SECTION 19. This CMO does not apply to Extension Classes which is covered by a separate Policies and Guidelines in


Pasig City, Philippines, November 27, 2000.

Commission on Higher Education