By AIRA MARIE E. SIGUENZA
MANILA — Three out of four students believe that they are not obtaining necessary skills under distance learning.
This is the result of a study conducted by Agham Youth that looked into how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students across universities and localities in the country are dealing with remote learning.
In their research titled “#EdukHAAksyon: A Study on a Humane, Accessible, and Appropriate Alternative to the Current Remote Learning Setup,” the youth group emphasized how remote learning is working against poor Filipino students who have been badly affected by the pandemic, and coupled with the increasing prices of staple goods and services and high unemployment rates.
Students, in the study, revealed that apart from not learning from the remote learning setup, at least 92 percent of the respondents stated that they are not really learning but merely passing requirements in order to receive passing grades. On the other hand, four out of five students fear failing their subjects due to the inefficient structure of online classes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and worsened the inequities in our education system. Due to the sudden shift to the current remote learning setup, many students who had little to no access to fast internet speeds, appropriate gadgets, and conducive work environments were put at a disadvantage,” the group stated.
This week, the education department has begun pilot testing of face-to-face classes in those considered as low-risk areas as the Philippines is the world’s last country to open schools. Students and teachers have been calling for the safe resumption of face-to-face classes, including the easing of academic load and providing of due breaks as the country continues to face the impacts of COVID-19.
Having to endure remote learning, some 89.4 percent of students who participated in Agham’s study said that it affected their mental well-being. Among the main stressors are heavy academic requirements, lack of social connection, the unpredictability of the pandemic, household responsibilities, among others.
Due to these results, the group asserted their policy suggestions, including compassion from university administrators through “maximum tolerance policy”, “overhauling of the curriculum to reduce graded submissions and assessments”, funding and supporting proper online alternatives to education, and making the academic calendar more flexible.
The group also asserted the importance of safely returning to school.
“The government should also provide and hasten the delivery of a proper pandemic response in general to ensure that life could return to normal as soon as possible. Many of the problems faced by students, teachers, and their families are direct outcomes of the pandemic and the lack of a scientific response to it,” Agham Youth said in a statement.
Last Nov. 17, student activists held simultaneous online and offline protest actions in celebration of International Student’s Day as they called for the safe resumption of classes. The online social media rally was held at 4 pm of the same day with those participating using the hashtags #EdukHAAksyon, #LigtasNaBalikEskwela, and #LigtasNaBalikPaaralan.
Read: Teachers, students call for #LigtasNaBalikPaaralan on reopening of classes
“Education was, is, and always will be a right, even in the middle of a pandemic. It is the mandate of our government leaders to provide quality and accessible education no matter the conditions, which entails providing adequate resources to continue remote learning, strengthening offline forms of learning so the system is less dependent on online classes, and meeting the other demands of students and teachers. By assessing our current approaches to learning and modifying them as we find points of improvement, we can start shifting to an education system that is more humane, accessible, and appropriate,” said Agham Youth. (JJE, RTS)