La Salle student publications echo calls to suspend online classes

Samantha Bagayas

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La Salle student publications echo calls to suspend online classes
The student publications urge school administrators across De La Salle campuses to reconsider their academic directives during the coronavirus outbreak

MANILA, Philippines – Student publications from various De La Salle campuses echoed calls for their school administrators to suspend online classes, in a solidarity statement published on Sunday, April 19.

Hailing from De La Salle Lipa, Dasmariñas, Manila, Benilde, and Bacolod, the student publications urged school administrators to reconsider their academic directives during the coronavirus outbreak, and uphold equal educational opportunities for all Lasallians.

The student publications said there are 3 main hurdles to online learning that are the same for Lasallians from different campuses: accessibility, quality education, and students’ well-being.

The student publications reiterated that not all Lasallians have access to electronic devices and internet connection, posing a problem especially for those with limited resources and scholars who may have been relying on campus equipment for easy access.

They added that online platforms and use of recorded educational content might be insufficient for skill-based degrees since students will only gain a limited understanding of the lectures.

They pointed out that academic requirements in the middle of an outbreak are an added burden on top of existing struggles, especially as students may feel stressed and uncertain during this challenging time.

Students may also come from families facing challenges in terms of their financial and emotional status.

“This transition to make use of online educational platforms – though well-intended – has instead become a source of difficulty for our fellow Lasallians who are not as privileged in their means and resources that this online setup demands,” the student publications said.

These issues were collated by the student publications based on concerns raised in published articles, editorials, formal correspondence, and numerous online petitions throughout social media that were released “in the hopes of having such concerns acknowledged by the schools’ administrators.”

Student governments from the De La Salle campuses have made proposals, letters, and statements calling on their respective administrations to suspend online classes.

The student government of De La Salle University Manila even submitted a petition along with their counterparts from the Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas, asking the Commission on Higher Education to suspend online classes nationwide.

“However, these student-led movements to communicate their grievances appear to have been downplayed by educators,” the student publications said.

The student publications called on school administrators to immediately suspend online classes and requirements, conduct mass promotion across all degree programs, and issue partial refund of school fees in light of limited access to campus resources.

They emphasized that continuing with online classes on the pretext of providing a sense of normalcy is an “injustice” to students who are struggling to cope with academic demands during the outbreak.

They added that mass promotion will “fairly address” the disparity among students’ current living conditions.

“Indeed, these are not normal times, and our value for inclusivity, empathy, and humanity should remain the top priority of our Lasallian schools, even if doing such would be at the expense of suspending many of our educational proceedings,” the student publications said.

The student publications included in the solidarity statement are Lavoxa Group of Publications, Heraldo Filipino, Ang Pahayagang Plaridel, Malate Literary Folio, Benildean Press Corps, Benildean Yearbook Office, and The Spectrum. –

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Samantha Bagayas

Samantha Bagayas is the head of civic engagement at Rappler.