Students weigh in on online learning

By: Raul Constantine L. Tabanao - CDN Digital | June 04,2020 - 08:00 AM

18-year-old Jane Talotalo tries to find good cellphone reception from an elevated area in Barangay Batadbatad, a mountain barangay in Moalboal town, Cebu, which is approximately a five-minute walk from her house. CDN Digital photo | Raul Tabanao

MOALBOAL, CEBU —As online classes are still being considered by education officials as the country continues to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, some students are left wondering how the upcoming academic year will turn out.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained earlier that classes do not have to be done physically, saying it may be done “virtually in some areas.”

READ: It’s back to school, physically or virtually, on August 24 – DepEd

All the hullabaloo is confusing students such as Angela Dognini and Jane Talotalo from Moalboal town, southwestern Cebu. Both know learning in the coming school year will be different. And challenging.

The 18-year-old Dognini is looking forward to studying this coming academic year 2020-2021. She is an upcoming first year college student and is excited to fulfill her dream to become a lawyer.

“I want nga mu-succeed ko og maayo nga after college makakita dayun ko og work. Basta I want to be successful,” said Dognini, who lives in a rented house in Barangay Tomonoy in Moalboal town, southwestern Cebu.

(I want to succeed in the future. I want to get a job after I graduate from college. I really want to be successful.)

Last May 2020, Angela passes her entrance examination in a public school in Cebu City. She says she plans to take Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in college, her stepping stone towards law school.

But she knows the road–especially with all the changes needed to be done due to the COVID-19 threat–won’t be an easy one to take.

Internet problems

Asked if what is her sentiment on the possible virtual learning or online teaching, Dognini says she disagrees with it.

“Di man siguro fair kay even gani physically kanang naa ka sa room diba maglisud naman gani. Maglisud ka og adapt, maglisud ka og learn what more if online class naa pa gyud difficulties like imong kwarta or signal…murag extra burden nimo,” she said.

(I think it’s not fair because even in face-to-face learning, you can still face difficulties. It’s hard for you to adapt and learn. What more if online class will be pushed through with the difficulties like money or internet connection…it’s like extra burden for you.)

But Dognini says she is ready for the challenge.

“If walay choice, maningkamot pud kog ako. Mangita og ways if mu-push through gyud sila sa online class. Mangita kog way to budget my money for (cellphone) load,” she said.

(If there’s no other choice, I’ll strive. I’ll look for ways if online classes pushes through. I will look for a way to budget my money for load.)

Talotalo, on the other hand, could only scratch her head when asked about the possibility of online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talotalo lives in Barangay Batadbatad, a mountain barangay in Moalboal town, 30 minutes away from the town proper.

The 18-year-old says internet signal is the main problem with that scenario. She said she even has a tough time sending a text message from her village.

“Diri’s balay, text ra gyud ni diri and if tawag putol-putol. Kung internet wala gyud. Sa akong kwarto ra maka text, sa uban di na,” she said.

(Here in our house, you can only send a message and if you call someone, the connection is bad. There’s no internet signal here. I can’t send a message from the house except from my bedroom.)

Should she be made to send online assignments or exams, Talotalo says she would have to walk to an elevated area, approximately five minutes away from her house, to find signal and internet connection.

But it’s not even available all the time.

“Usahay kung mag-uwan, mawala gyud ang signal,” she added.

(If it rains, the signal sometimes gets lost.)

Talotalo recalled her struggle last May, when she took her major examination in one of her subjects online.

“Naglisud ko ato kay giorasan man gud to, two hours ba unya di pa gyud kaayo kusog ang signal ato nga time mao to gi-agwanta gyud to nako,” Jane said.

(I was having a tough time because we took the exam with a 2-hour limit only and I had a weak signal that time. I really had to endure it.)

Mixed reactions

Despite her situation, Talotalo remains positive and looks forward to finishing her studies.

She plans to take up Bachelor of Science in Education major in Mathematics at the Cebu Technological University in Moalboal to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.

“If ever gyud nga naay online class, antoson nalang gyud namo diri. Muadto nalang gyud mi didto. Makaya raman basta maningkamot lang…basta di lang mag-uwan og magdag-um,” she said.

(If ever online classes will be available, we have to bear with it here. We’ll just have to go there. We can actually do it as long as we strive..as long as it doesn’t rain or become gloomy.)

The dilemma of both students were also heard in an online poll of CDN Digital last May 4, 2020.

CDND asked netizens their sentiments on government’s plan to consider virtual schooling in the country.

Read: CDN POLL: Netizens’ reactions to virtual schooling

Most expressed doubts on having the classes online but some agreed, citing safety reasons.

Chem Capilitan wrote, “Online impossible for majority of students from public schools, especially those from far flung areas. Maybe, it’s best for these students to go modular studies, where their parents will get the modules in schools. Ari makita ang parent support sa pagtungha sa ilang mga anak.” (This is where we will see the support of the parents.)

Andrew Najarro said, “The problem there is those students who have no access to the internet, those students who have no laptops and desktops.”

A few agreed, but suggested that the government should take into consideration students who do not have access to technology.

Should this problem be addressed, it could usher a new era in learning in the country. /bmjo

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