Pandemic pushes Central Luzon schools to reshape teaching, learning
ANGELES CITY, Pampanga, Philippines — A Catholic university with the largest student population in Central Luzon has modified its teaching system and enforce it once the government lifts the extended enhanced community quarantine.
Holy Angel University (HAU) in Angeles City has adopted the technology to compensate for limited face-to-face instructions, according to its president, Luis Maria Calingo. “Given that education must continue even in times of crisis, we need to redefine how we deliver education to our students,” he said.
Some 17,000 students enrolled at HAU last semester.
Using the current state of knowledge and practice, Calingo said education would be delivered through a variety of means, including online, blended and face-to-face instruction. The move was premised on a prolonged situation with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the need for social distancing to prevent infection.
“We do not make any pretenses that all students, employees, parents, and stakeholders would be pleased with the new normal. [HAU] has a societal obligation to fulfill and we commit ourselves to considering the best interest of all,” said Calingo, who met with school officials, teachers, students, and employees last month.
The university publication, “The Angelite,” and various student organizations, including HAU Speak Now and Anakbayan HAU, posted an online petition airing seven demands, including a stop in tuition increase and online learning “if HAU has no plan to resolve students’ problems with internet and finance.”Calingo said HAU was “sensitive” to the financial impact of the quarantine on families so it would work out a smaller increase in tuition and other fees.
The university will also offer educational scholarships and loans, give considerations to those with still unpaid fees in the past semester, and review miscellaneous fees that would not be collected in the next semester, he said.HAU is currently discussing with telecommunications firms and internet service providers to give data plans at big discounts to students.
In Bulacan province, 36,000 students of Bulacan State University (BulSU), who have been stuck indoors since March 17, have been allowed to submit subject requirements at “the most comfortable, accessible, doable and easiest manner … after the quarantine is lifted.”
Teachers are also discouraged from providing additional activities, comprehensive final exams and other requirements to their students.
Based on tentative guidelines that BulSU drafted on April 27, grades for students will now depend on their performance before schools were closed by the Luzon lockdown and on homework given them once the quarantine is lifted so they can properly end the semester.
The second semester for school year 2019-2020 was supposed to end on May 30 but the quarantine had been extended to May 15. The start of the next semester has not yet been determined.
According to BulSU president Cecilia Gascon and the executive committee, teachers must “ensure that no student will be left behind” in the semester. Many of the students live in Metro Manila, Pampanga and other provinces which have been struck hard by COVID-19.
BulSU’s main campus in the City of Malolos has 24,000 students, while campuses at the City of San Jose del Monte and the towns of Bustos, Bulakan, Pulilan and Hagonoy have 12,000.
Gascon also said no student would get failing marks because of the unusual situation.
Graduating students are given until the first week of September to comply with course requirements for a tentative graduation in October, if the COVID-19 crisis is resolved.
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