/ 18 September 2021

STUDENT groups in Cebu Institute of Technology-University strongly opposed the school’s two-gadgets policy during online examinations.

The UNITED for CIT University, along with University Supreme Student Council and other organizations, said that not all students can afford to have two gadgets while some rely on mobile data to attend their online classes.

“We believe that amid the inability to address the pandemic with medical solutions, learning has been compromised and the implementation of the guidelines on the conduct of examinations will only worsen the situation of students instead of benefiting them,” the students said in a unity statement.

“We stand with the Technologians born and raised in low-income working families. We stand with the Technologians who do not have a comfortable and conducive learning environment. We stand with the Technologians who do not have two devices,” they stressed.

On September 14, the university released a memorandum requiring students to have either a laptop with two cameras or two smartphones, and to take exams in a well-lit environment.

If there’s no extra gadget available, CIT-U said that students can use their laptop’s front camera and place a mirror in a way that it can show their hands on the keyboard.

Describing the policy as “anti-poor” and “non-inclusive”, the students urged the school officials to be more compassionate in making policies during this time of the pandemic.

“We appreciate the intention of the University to guide and imbue the student body with the right values and it is not that we oppose you the act of promoting integrity, per se,” they said.

“However, considering the depressing quality of internet access in the Philippines coupled with the financial standing of the families of the students enrolled at our University, we cannot but challenge the pronouncement of the University to push through with the guidelines that go against our constitutional right to the access of education without discrimination,” they added.

However, university President Bernard Nicolas Villamor was firm on the implementation of the new policy, saying students were consulted about it.

“In perspective, the safeguards were minimal and took into account the various conditions, finally resulting in a set of guidelines that incorporated a number of leniency provisions taking into consideration the suggestions/comments of the SSG,” Villamor said.

“Particularly, three options were provided. It is inaccurate to intimate that 2 devices were imposed – the use of mirror was also recommended as an affordable alternative to the use of 2 devices,” he added.

He said that the use of an anti-cheating software was not considered because of the additional cost that it would incur.