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No Matter How Hard Schools Try, Online Classes Won’t Work For All—Here’s Why

Four students from different schools share their thoughts and experiences on the issue.
ART Hannah Villafuerte

Ever since COVID-19 forced colleges and universities to fully commit to online modes of learning, students have faced the repercussions of shifting to a new mode of education in the middle of a major multi-sectoral threat. While they worry about their futures, they are also left with little room to address the more pressing concerns of the present. As a result, students have mobilized online pleas to #EndTheSemNow and urged their respective schools to resort to mass promotion of the students during a time when the country is at its early stages of handling the virus outbreak.

We held a Facebook Live session with four students from different colleges and universities to discuss the current setup of Philippines’ higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the most common themes that popped up during the online forum.

Not all students have access to a stable Internet connection.

The digital era makes it easier for people to access information and connect with one another—but it’s important to note that this is not the case for everyone. Plenty of students cannot easily get their hands on online resources for reasons like financial constraints and weak connectivity in the area where they live. To add, Raymond Cayabyab from University of the East says, “How can we depend on such online platforms if, [in] the Philippines, very weak ang internet connection natin? You’ll need a PC and a stable internet connection. Yung online classes kasi, hindi pa fully introduced sa lahat ng schools.”

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We cannot give a solution to a national problem by selectively focusing on a certain demographic’s situation and assuming it will apply to all. In the Philippines, internet connection is a luxury not everyone can afford, even more so during a pandemic.

Should online classes continue, Angelica Magistrado from Mapua University believes that adjustments to the current setup need to be made. “Ang nakikita ko lang na solution for this kind of setup is yung self-paced learning,” she shares. “All lecture materials are accessible sa lahat and any time puwede mo siya ma-access.”

Students’ attention are divided and priorities are being skewed.

In school, these 16 to 20-somethings’ primary role is to simply be students. At home, where they are currently staying put due to the lockdown, they take on more roles they can’t just shrug off just because classes have temporarily moved in to their homes, too.

While the semester has ended for her school, Mavy Medrano of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines still support the call to end the semester early for other universities. “What if yung student, breadwinner pala siya ng family?” Mavy points out. “So instead na inaalagan niya yung pamilya niya, iisipin pa niya yung requirements niya, yung mga discussions niya, plus yung mental health niya yung emotional health niya. So we really support that call na, let’s end the semester and let’s focus on the health of the students and the people.”

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We’re in the middle of a pandemic.

In case you aren’t aware yet, a pandemic basically means an outbreak on a global scale. We’re not the only ones currently faced with a fight against an unprecedented, all-pervasive threat. Far richer countries are also straining their national resources to overcome the pandemic. Basically, this just shows that our current situation is not normal.

Given this, students cannot just shift to online learning and be expected to deliver the same amount and quality of output the way they would back when things were still normal. Kenneth Jose from University of the Philippines best said it, “[What the students demand] is reflective of the social conditions we have right now. Kasi we can’t go back to normal. It’s not business as usual. We can’t expect our students to deliver the same way that they used to in a normal setting.”

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If you missed it, watch the entire Facebook Live again here:

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Mylene Mendoza
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A community page where you can share your feels and show your skills! Learn more here

"Today, I Won"

I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.

When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.

For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.

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After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.

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It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.

To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.

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Juliana Rebong 9 hours ago

Why our high school barkada is the best?

Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.

Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:

1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.

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2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.

3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.

4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.

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5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.

6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.

7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.

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