/ 28 July 2020

“NO DOUBT na itutuloy pa rin ng Mapua ‘yong pag-open ng classes nitong school year 2020-2021. Sabi nga nila ‘we are a company’ raw. So, paano naman kaming students ng company nila? Nasa isip kong huminto muna ng at least isang term kasi nasasayangan ako sa pera.”

This is what Gail, an incoming second year engineering student from Mapua University, has said as she was thinking of stopping her studies due to financial constraint brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

While Gail said that she has plans to resume her studies at some point in time, she noted that online classes are “ineffective and more expensive” compared to physical or face-to-face classes.

“Lahat sagot namin pero ang laki pa rin ng tuition. Ngayon ngang nasa week 8 out of 11 weeks na kami ng term, masasabi kong wala ako halos natutuhan lalo na sa majors ko.” Gail said, as she questioned the effectiveness of online classes. “Kahit pa sabihin nilang matagal na silang Mapua nag iimplement ng digital learning, parang hindi naman talaga nagwowork out.”

She also disclosed that some of her professors do not teach well since they only send Youtube videos and Powerpoint presentations while some of their examinations are directly sourced from the internet.

Meanwhile, Gail also shared that her family was struck hard financially even before the pandemic arrived as her mother and working sister contracted diseases that require immediate treatment in December last year. She also said that her self-employed father’s earnings are barely enough to sustain their family’s expenses.

She noted that her decision to enroll in Mapua came after she failed to get onto the University of the Philippines UP and awaited reconsideration for UP – Los Baños. While doing so, she let go of her slot in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and months later, Mapua is the only school that accepts enrollees that offer her desired course.

So even if Mapua is a private institution, her parents agreed to enroll her at the school since she is a Department of Science and Technology scholar.

Gail* also emphasized that she is in favor of the proposed ‘academic freeze’ since her course requires laboratory applications and a lot of students who are poor are forced to sacrifice a portion of their expenses to participate in blended learning schemes.

“Alam ko na mas marami pa ‘yung mga estudyanteng nahihirapan sa gantong sitwasyon. Ako may laptop at wifi, pero paano naman yung mga walang kakayahang makabili at magpakabit or magpaload para sa internet? ‘Yung imbis na ipapangkain na lang yung pera, ipapambili pa ng cellphone or laptop para sa pag-aaral ngayong new normal,” she lamented.

The Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education remained firm in their stand that classes should start on August 24 in “whatever form it would be.”