November 30, 2022

More than two years into the pandemic and distance learning is still the mode of delivery of education. Some claim this is the future and we should adapt to it. But a mind-boggling question remains: If this is the future, will I survive or will I be left behind?
Sure, there are several advantages of distance learning, but the fact remains that the traditional way of learning is a lot better, more practical, and it prepares the student better for the future. Distance learning poses a lot of threats, not just to the physical health, but also to the mental, emotional, and even to the spiritual health. According to Nishatha Abraham Bijeesh, an Indian journalist, distance learning causes distraction to students compared to traditional learning. She added distance learning has a lot of hidden costs and the quality of education is compromised. While electronic devices are required for online learning, they easily steal attention for long periods of time. Most students will hold their phones or leave them on their desks while studying.
Not only does the new way of learning causes distraction, compromises the quality of education, and has a lot of hidden costs, it also poses serious threats to the physical, mental, and emotional health of the students and adults.
A habit of wake up-phone-eat-phone-sleep-phone is being done by most of the students, especially when the Covid-19 started. According to a research conducted by the Narayana Health, online learning is increasing eyesight problems with frequent headaches are attributed to prolonged screen time. Children attending online classes at home are not bound to have classroom professionalism. Hence, their physical health is deteriorating too in many aspects that include poor ergonomics, lack of physical activities, deficiencies of Calcium and Vit. D, and Injuries.
Emotional and mental health is compromised with everything that is going on. The Covid-19 has significantly become more than a health crisis. In October 2020, a news articles said there were at least 13 cases of students who took their lives, saying these were linked to the pressure they had to endure in trying to accomplish their self-learning modules in time for the weekly deadline, along with their difficulties in confronting the pandemic. There are more undocumented and continuous increase in the cases of suicide caused by Distance Learning. As a student myself, I know what it feels to be caught up in depression and anxiety. It prevents me from doing the things I love and forces me to dislike everyone around me. Being a prisoner of your own mind is worse than being quarantined in your own home. Students who feel the same way may not handle mental health the same way as others. Deadlines, lots of workloads, self-learning, and being helpless are just some of the factors that exacerbates the mental and emotional health issues most students and adults experiences.
Not everyone has access or has the means to distance learning. Technologies are becoming more advanced and so is their price, not to mention the economic and financial crisis everyone is going through. Especially in the far flung areas where signal, the cost of internet and gadgets are a barrier to every student and family wanting to have and finish education to provide for themselves and their families a bright future. These barriers dim the light and hope to a better and brighter future. I repeat my question: If this is the future, will we survive or will we be left behind (again)?
Imagine what the younger generation and the parents are going through. Giving birth to a child with high hopes of them completing what you haven’t finished but then come distance learning and you are stuck in having to teach your own child. Parents are encouraged to help their children, DepEd says, but how about the parents who don’t even know how to read or write? Will they be able to teach their kids or will they also end up being a no read, no write generation?
If this is the future, I don’t think my chances of survival are high. Distance learning is not for everyone. It compromises the quality of education and leaves many hanging and clueless of what tomorrow may bring. (JOSHUA YANG SIDDAYAO)

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