Here's why we need to push for #LigtasBalikEskwela more than ever

Jul 19, 2021 0 comments



One year and four months later, we're still stuck in our homes, trying to tune out the same old news about the pandemic as we struggle to hold onto our last thread of sanity. With the government's unending catalog of community quarantines, the delayed vaccine rollout, and with the new school year already knocking on our doors, 2021 is indeed a one hell ride.  


Saying that students are now burned out is an understatement. Over the course of the quarantine, we can all agree that flexible learning isn't all that flexible even though the Commission on Higher Education Chair Prospero de Vera III's statement insists on it. 


Behind the computer screen





We can't deny the hardships students and teachers face due to emote learning. From the substandard and questionable preparations of DepEd and CHED to the lack of e-gadgets of students and teachers — not to mention the insufficient support of the Duterte administration — only prove that the "new normal" isn't for everyone. 


Being forced to adjust to the current digital education landscape manifests many physical problems that gravely affect many students' mental health. The sudden shift from face-to-face classes to remote learning is also taking its toll on our teachers as they bear the brunt of making experiential learning output-based with resources little to none. 


Stories of students trekking mountains to get internet access or a parent sacrificing their years' worth of income have become the new stories of resilience. Still, it shouldn't be glorified as it is a manifestation of the struggles and sufferings of your fellowmen in these dark times. 



Paging through different movements


Many education initiatives such as #PisoParaSaLaptop and #AyudaPangEskwela have become a beacon of light in these dark times as they initiate donation drives over the quarantine period to financially assist students and teachers in dire need of e-gadgets, devices, and stable internet connections. 


Alternative solutions such as Academic freeze was once pondered to help lessen the burden of our education system. However, while it is tempting, it is unjust and only caters to the privileged few. So no, scratch that. What we need is an academic reform that goes offline to view the narrative from the lenses of the financially burdened.


With the collective struggle of fellow activists, students, teachers, and concerned citizens to achieve quality education in the Philippines amid the pandemic — we need to push for #LigtasBalikEskwela at all costs. 


How? you might ask? The answer is not far too easy but achievable with the right and efficient plans from the government. Instead of playing the cards of politics, our officials should learn to look at the microscopic lens of reality. Our officials should stop their current band-aid solution that does not, in any way, alleviate the everyday struggles of Filipinos. 


The digital strike


Inequalities existed even before the pandemic, and society hasn't come all this way just for the narrative to once again fall back on the worn-out excuse of "Filipino resiliency". Our students shouldn't always have to ration load, climb trees and mountains just to get decent internet connection. That is not how "normal" should look like. If we really want to advocate having no students left behind, we must lobby for inclusive learning spaces where all narratives are taken into account and construct policies and mandates that truly serve the people. 


Distance learning shouldn't be this literal. Pandemic or not, we owe it to the future generations to bridge the gap in learning and see to it that their needs are met without compromise. 


Demand and push for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education, and until then, we'll continue cutting through the noise. 


━━ Written By Jason Christopher Paz
━━  Art By moi ra (@ariom.psd)



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