Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan today said that mass promotion of students should be seriously considered given the gaps in online distance learning.
“I think the faculty of the UPD (University of the Philippines-Diliman) is considering this — at least a recommendation that there’ll be a mass promotion, if I understand it correctly, [that] is pass or fail. In other words, they’ve done maybe 90 percent of the semester, and therefore meron nang (there is) basis to have them account for their performance. I am looking at that as a possible next step for the time being because of all the gaps of online distance learning,” Pangilinan said.
Other options being discussed are “pass or drop” and extending the period for completion of requirements.
In a TV interview today, Pangilinan, a former Student Regent and Chairperson of the UPD Student Council, said that parents and students are struggling even more after the back-to-back-to-back typhoons that devastated the country.
“I can understand where the youth and students are coming from. After all these typhoons, Bicol is devastated, (and) Cagayan is devastated. And then we’re having online distance learning. Given the damage to infrastructure in these areas, they should be seriously considered,” he added.
A number of Philippine universities and colleges this week implemented an academic break to help tide students and faculty through the challenges brought by the typhoons.
Students, however, are also proposing an academic freeze to effectively end the semester citing the persisting challenges of online learning that have been escalated by the damages to infrastructure.
“Kawawa ang ating mga magulang at estudyante struggling to be able to get by with modules and online and different types of intervention tapos tatamaan ka ng kalamidad,” Pangilinan said. (Pity are the parents and the students.. then they are hit by calamities.)
Following these protests, President Duterte admonished students from the University of the Philippines for their calls for an academic strike.
Duterte threatened to cut the funding of the state university.
Asked if that is possible, Pangilinan said: “That would be legally infirm.”
Pangilinan, a lawyer, said the reason for the students’ protests should be addressed.
“Why are the students protesting? Let’s go back to that. This is not unique to the Philippines. World-wide, you see student protests. Dito sa Pilipinas, marami sa ating kabataan at estudyante ay (here in the Philippines, many of our young and students) are very concerned about the Anti-Terror Law. And I was a student leader and activist during my student days in UP,” Pangilinan said.
The senator also pointed out the Philippines’ national heroes have been young students when they redirected the course of history.
“Natural sa ating mga kabataan at estudyante na magkaroon ng ganitong klaseng kritikal na posisyon. Si Jose Rizal nga tsaka si Andres Bonifacio, tsaka si Emilio Aguinaldo were in their 20s when they fought Spain, di ba? Doble na ang edad ko sa kanila Aguinaldo at Bonifacio sa mga panahon na ‘yon,” Pangilinan said. (it is natural for our youth and students that are in a critical position. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio and also Emilio Aguinaldo were in their 20s when they fought Spain. My age is double that of Aguinaldo and Bonifacio during those times.)
“The youth will always be a source or a catalyst of change. I think more than anything else if you try to stop that, you’re going against how history unfolds. They are who they are, the youth and students will always be catalysts of change,” he added.