A+ FOR ATENEO: THE INTERNET PRAISES THE INSTITUTION FOR ITS CONSISTENT EFFORTS TO TAKE CARE OF ITS STUDENTS
One of the Philippines' most prestigious schools earns the Internet's badge of approval with its initiatives on refunds, passing grades, and more that follows the student body's best interests whilst in the middle of a pandemic.
As majority of students all around the country call for universities to listen to their pleas for tuition cuts, more efficient systems for online classes, and an all-out academic freeze, each institution opted to different ways in handling these concerns and demands. However, one university that has earned the appreciation and respect of not just its students, but majority of the Filipino community online, is Ateneo de Manila University for how they handled and took care of their students during a pandemic.
Since the start of quarantine in Metro Manila, the prestigious university issued some changes to adapt to the times and the student body’s evolving needs. It started with the school administration giving passing grades to all its students after announcing the second semester ending earlier than scheduled. This was to lessen the disturbance of the pandemic to students and faculty members as they clamored to settle into the new reality of online classes, and all it entailed during finals season. On top of this abrupt change of calendar, students were also refunded a total of P20,000 from tuition fees and lab fees at the end of the school year.
Moreover, as incoming college students grow weary of their future in light of the pandemic, Ateneo de Manila University just announced that there will be no Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET) for the school year 2021-2022. This is also in consideration of the culture surrounding entrance exams in the Philippines, which usually pushes families to spend thousands of money for tutors and review centers. There’s also a tremendous amount of pressure not just for applicants, but also parents, in preparation for that one fated exam day. To lessen this immense mental and financial burden, the unexpected announcement was posted on September 1, with a caption that stated that the school didn’t want to create unneeded drama and stress for Filipinos at this time.
There is a lot going on and we don’t want to create more unneeded drama and stress. There will be no #ACET for SY 2021-22.
Times are evolving but our commitment to academic excellence and formation has not changed.
— Ateneo de Manila (@ateneodemanilau) September 1, 2020
With this new process, the university will only be looking at applicants’ past grades, essays, reference letters, and other requirements to assess their spot in the next batch of enrollees. The University of Santo Tomas is also taking the same route by cancelling the USTET for the coming year, and opening up applications for refunds.
The Office of the Vice-Rector for Finance announces the details and procedure for the refunds of applicable common Miscellaneous and Other Fees for the Second Term of A.Y. 2019-2020 and the ones for the First Term of A.Y. 2020-2021.
Further details are in the MyUSTe Portal. pic.twitter.com/ag5FRqxfH2
— University of Santo Tomas (@UST1611official) August 28, 2020
On top of these radical changes in administrative matters, AdMU also called for hardware donations of second-hand laptops and desktops for scholars struggling with the equipment requirements of online classes.
.@Ateneo_Alumni is calling for donations of used laptops or desktops for Ateneo scholars' use for online learning. Please contact the AAA via email/call/text/Viber at [email protected] / 09175914774 / 09175250694 for more details. pic.twitter.com/5qtWAhwirX
— Ateneo de Manila (@ateneodemanilau) July 20, 2020
A lot of Filipinos online are commending Ateneo for this initiative, and taking one step further in taking care of its existing and future student body. Seeing this from one of the Philippines’ most reputable schools, concerned citizens online are also urging other universities and schools to do the same, especially big institutions with students and scholars that may not be able to afford everything that is required for classes in the New Normal. This is a very important issue right now with a lot of families struggling financially due to lay-offs, the instability of the working class, and as a consequence, the fragility of the local economy. Moreover, there’s also quite a discussion on the effectiveness of online classes from home, as a number of variables may affect the quality of education that students will get in this alternative method, and a lot of them have had to go through difficult situations just to attend a class.
As Ateneo’s “good deeds” are being celebrated by majority of the country, a bigger concern is the overall welfare and education the youth is now forced to face and adapt to whilst in the middle of a pandemic. While grand gestures such as tuition refunds and cancelling of entrance tests are a welcome change, the current economic and socio-cultural climate still call for even bigger changes to be made so that no student will be left behind.