July 19, 2024

The effect of the global health pandemic is being experienced by government and private institutions, including educational institutions. The new system gave the Department of Education the most challenging role to come up and strategize the best approach in learning as the pandemic continues to devastate the country. The best approach in learning and teaching at this point in time is the blended learning or flexible learning where students and teachers use online classes and modules as a means of learning. Others use the modular approach.
These plans have the best intentions. However, a lot of issues arose when the new education approaches were implemented. Private and public schools are trying the best they can to address the concerns and issues brought out by students and parents. Many of the teachers have been trying their best to reach out to students. After almost two years of the implementation of the approach, we expect that students, parents, and the institution already adapted to the new normal of learning, but the expectation is far from reality.
The demand for academic break by students from universities in Baguio has awaken the concern of many individuals regarding academic pressure that leads to cases of “suicidal attempts” by some students. However, in the deeper context of the rationale for academic break, it does not substantiate the demand for academic break. Academic pressure is always present whether there is a pandemic or not, and the academic pressure is not the mere reason for committing suicide of students since there are lots of factors to consider when an individual is extremely depressed. The pressure of studying might only be one of the contributors for depression and not a strong proposition for the kind of demand. If many students are active in voicing out their minds, there are also students who are meek and just silent about the matte. Students who want academic break must also consider the thoughts of those who like to still continue with their studies.
One thing students should demand for is the change in the process of completing and submitting their activity. In this case, the educational institution would adhere to some changes when necessary. The demand for a true flexible learning, which means that students should not be given too much pile of activities and the limitation of time in submitting such activities must be negotiable, because at the end of the day the main purpose of learning is to have quality learning rather than quantity.
University programs with regard to academic pressure and depression are urgent issues that need to be addressed. University stakeholders should develop certain programs to cater to their client in terms of psychological issues.
Academic break should only be implemented when situations are severely critical and uncontrollable. Different bodies of education institutions, including student councils, should be rational enough to decide on issues like this, since many students, especially those who are not amenable of the demand, would get affected.
Taking a rest from a demanding call of the new education system is understandable, and there are many options a student may choose rather than demanding an academic break. A student may opt to not enroll for a semester or they can enroll minimal units to ensure that they can manage their time in doing their school activities. It is a crucial challenge for universities to redevelop their strategies in terms of the academic leniency amidst the health crisis.
At the end of the day, the main goal of learning institutions is to provide a quality education for the students. Students need to realize that schools and universities are avenues for learning not an avenue for physical and psychological wreckage. (JENILYN TARIAGAO – ANA-AS)