LEYTE, Philippines – Facebook user Joseph Sumayang posted on April 11 photos of teachers climbing mountains to get the internet access they needed so they could submit their teaching requirements. It was uploaded to show the challenges of teaching in the rural areas, and with it an appeal for better wireless network connectivity in their area.
“Sa makataan-aw ani nga picture, tabangi intawon ninyo nga magka-signal ang Brgy. Libertad, Abuyog, Leyte kay ang mga maestra sa atong eskuylahan kinahanglan pa muadto sa pungkay aron makasagap og signal, maka-internet aron mkapasa sa reports nga kinahanglan. Daghang Salamat,” the post read.
(To those who will see these photos, please help us so that wireless network connection can be accessible in Brgy. Libertad, Abuyog, Leyte because our teachers here would have to climb up mountains just to connect to the internet so they can submit reports. Thank you!”)
Joseph has seen how his wife and her co-teachers have struggled to submit their year-end reports and required forms over the years because of the town’s poor network signal connectivity.
His wife, Melbie Joy, the Information and Communications Technology(ICT) coordinator in Libertad Elementary School (LES) told Rappler of their difficult situation .
“Dili lalim. Inig start sa klase, magpasa ug forms. Naa pay mga urgent submissions. Inig undang sa klase, magpasa na pud og forms. Way signal diri sa baryo. Mubaktas pa mi mangitag signal. Pag-abot sa pungkay sa bukid, mukatkat pa og puno aron isang-it ang pocket wi-fi. Kana, maka-send na mi,” Melbie narrated.
(It’s not easy. At the start of the school year, we need to send forms. Apart from urgent submissions, we need to send reports again at the end of the school year. Network service is unavailable in the community so we have to climb up the top of the mountain to search for connection. At times, we need to climb up trees to hang our pocket wi-fi kits. That is how we send reports.)
Admiration and Concern
Netizens commended the teachers for their dedication to do their jobs despite the extreme challenges.
Some pointed out the high demands and workload of teachers in the Philippines.
Teachers from other parts of the country also shared their sentiments and brought up other issues in the teaching profession.
Some comments on the post also highlighted the need for better working conditions and increased compensation for teachers.
LES principal, Gregorio Betonio, also expressed his concern for the teachers.
“I am always worried. They would climb mountains to look for a stable connection and would stay up until 8 pm without even minding the mosquitoes and the threats of wild animals nearby,” Betonio said.
Betonio added how it would take 30 minutes for them to send accomplished reports—a burden on their part. If errors are detected after a day or more, the teachers are informed of these and they have to edit and resend the reports.
“One time, we encountered a snake in the mountains. Since then, I don’t go alone. We work together. We look for a stable connection together. We are not hoping for a 4G or an LTE network. We would be happy even with a 3G connection as long as we can easily send reports without climbing up,” Melbie said. –Rappler.com
Jessica R. Alverois a Rappler Mover in Abuyog, Leyte. She is a third year Bachelor of Elementary Education student of Abuyog Community College and is the Executive Editor of Honeycomb.