DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As the country continues to face the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic with a number of cities and provinces placed under enhanced community quarantine, an alliance of student councils called for the immediate termination of the current semester, instead of pushing through with online classes or extending the semester.
“Quality education is in everyone’s interests. Our call to end the semester and to promote students en masse does not need to set this aside,” the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said Friday (Apr. 10).
While some higher educational institutions already shifted to online platforms for their classes, the group said it “excludes” students without stable or any Internet access and devices at home, as well as it “does not guarantee quality education.”
It also deemed the extension of the semester “not feasible”, especially for schools that have three semesters (trimester) in a school year.
NUSP has called for the “mass promotion” of students, including the clearance of eligible students to graduate. It also enjoined schools “to offer audit classes and modules once the crisis has been surmounted,’ as well as suggested, “that phasing and curricula will need to be adjusted accordingly”.
As students and their families face financial burden amid the lockdown, NUSP also called for a refund of unused school fees.
“The crisis makes no exemptions. Students stand on the same side as everyone on the receiving end of financial, psychological, and emotional stress brought about by the pandemic. To add academic stress to the pile would only make for a burden even more difficult to bear,” it said.
Actions of Davao City colleges
The University of the Philippines (UP)-Mindanao’s University Student Council (USC) has requested the university administration to discontinue its second semester and grant students automatic pass for their enrolled subjects.
In their letter to Chancellor Larry Digal, the USC said that such recommendations are the “most humane decision to be made given the current state of the country.”
UP Student Regent Isaac Punzalan earlier reported that chancellors across all UP units are set to meet on Monday (Apr. 13) to discuss possible adjustments for the semester, with a final decision coming from the university’s Board of Regents.
Meanwhile, the Ateneo de Davao University administration and student council approved on April 8 various measures to facilitate the implementation of online classes at the university.
The University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP), on the other hand, issued a memorandum on March 24, announcing the shifting to self-paced learning delivery, in which students may access instructional materials and modules of their respective classes at their own convenience.
USEP added that all requirements shall be submitted after the resumption of classes. (davaotoday.com)