/ 31 December 2020

ON-THE-JOB training or internship has always been a requirement before a student can graduate.

During internship, students get a chance to experience the real world that awaits them and learn valuable lessons and practices that they will apply in their chosen profession.

This year, however, is different. A lot of graduating students are in limbo as the Covid19 pandemic transformed the education system and affected how college students complete their OJT requirement.

The pandemic has forced workers and students to stay at home. Companies adapted the work-from-home scheme and schools and colleges shifted to remote learning.

When classes resumed, the Commission on Higher Education urged universities and colleges to move or postpone the on-site or face-to-face internship for the health and safety of the students.

“‘Yung mga parte na kaya nating gawin na online, wala pa namang skills-based, wala pa kaming nangangailangan ng limited face-to-face classes, ay gawin sa pagsisimula ng academic year,” CHED Executive Director Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro said.

Because of this, the idea of home-based internship was born.

Some welcomed the idea but some frowned on it saying that an internship from home does not add anything to the skills of students and robs them the chance to experience the real work environment.

In an interview with The POST, Michael Angelo Fesalbon, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of Adamson University, said that he preferred to learn in the actual field than at home.

“I prefer to learn and be immersed in a real working environment. Activities are limited and are not suitable for all types of fields,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zacarian Sarao, a Journalism student of The Manila Times College, said that he also prefers on-site OJT.

“I prefer onsite or face-to/face, of course. But obviously, I’m in no position to demand that considering the fact that the pandemic is only getting worse,” Sarao said.

Maureen Binasbas, a BA Communication student at the Adamson University, said that having a home-based internship is a struggle because of the poor internet service.

“You don’t feel you’re in an internship. You don’t meet new people and learn from them. No new skills to acquire since the workplace is basically in front of your computer all the time. Internet connection is also a struggle,” she said.

Association of Law Students of the Philippines Vice President for International Affairs Kenny Bayudan admitted that it is better to do a face-to-face internship.

“With the pandemic medyo hindi siya ganoon ka-feasible,” Bayudan told The POST.

However, not all students are wary of home-based internships.

Mark Tuazon, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science student at the Pangasinan State University, said he preferred home-based internship because he has more time to help his parents take care of his siblings.

“Mas marami ring oras at mas flexible para gawin ‘yung mga kailangan kong gawin, kaso minsan mahirap lang din talaga kapag walang internet connection,” he added.

Despite taking their OJT in an unconventional way, the students clarified that they still learn something from their virtual internship.

“Despite not being at work physically, I’m still learning a lot of things. To be fair, I’m still learning way more than I thought I would. But I think everyone will agree that the experience of being in the workplace itself is the most important part of an internship or OJT,” Sarao said.

“I feel like having my internship in a work-from-home setup reduces the experience of the job training itself. I mean in Journalism, there is an infinite amount of knowledge you can learn just by being in the field, work-from-home setup automatically strips me of that opportunity,” he added.

Since they have no options, the students said they cannot do anything but to adjust to the new normal.

They admitted that a home-based internship is better than having a delayed graduation.