Challenges of PH higher education system on COVID-19

Is the Philippines ready for the challenges and changes of higher education system? Are we really ready?

With the unseen enemy which caught us off-guard in this situation, I would say that the Philippines is not ready for the challenge but we are living up to the said challenges and changes. I am not an education expert or administrator but as I can see in the situation we have now that our country is fighting blindly with coronavirus, it slowly cripples us. Just like our human eyes when we lost our sight, it makes us all crouch and use our hands to feel and make sense of what is in front of us. We feel lost and so vulnerable of whatever will hit on us anytime. But then again, I am not disregarding the high-spirited and resilient Juan de la Cruz among us who keeps on fighting despite the odds although this virus is really a one tough blow.

We all know that education system in countries such as US, Europe, some parts of Asia have the most advanced educations system in the world. In case of the Philippines which always struggle in the ever changing educational reforms being implemented in the country just to keep up with the world, in this tough time that we fight blindly with the virus, the politicians are blinded by their greed and interest to be more powerful rather than finding better solutions for this fight to be over once and for all.

During the past years, I always hear about the ASEAN integration and now I always encounter the Industry 4.0. This Industry 4.0 is rapidly building smart cities which are founded on computing technology, artificial intelligence and internet among others. In our case, it is a question of being technologically ready because the mere fact that we could not even get a proper data connection from our mobile due to remoteness and other conditions, we could not keep up.

Just like here in Marinduque, many of our students live in highlands that you need to look for better place to have a network signal. Looking for a better place just to have a signal poses risks that they may even climb a tree just to comply to their teacher’s requirements. This also goes with the teachers who are teaching in far-flung areas who are always struggling in sending forms to the DepEd portals.

Another one is the gadget needed for the online education system. Our government is providing funds for such but still not enough because there are other concerns as well not just the desktop computer or smart TV in a classroom. As I see it, younger generations today do not have the difficulty in acquiring an android phone because it is a trend and some parents provide them too. However, parents often do not monitor their children who are overusing the gadgets for non-educational activities. Sad reality but this is a widespread everyday scenario in most of the Philippine households.

With the gadget given, here comes the need to buy for mobile data or Wi-Fi plan for the family which eventually becomes part of the household budget to keep up with the necessity of being online not solely for education but for leisure as well.

Now, it becomes a chain of necessity that we need to keep up as we embrace the technological set-up we are facing today.

With this crisis, different regulatory bodies will eventually call for the crafting of new policies and guidelines for the online education system. We will eventually be aggressive and excited for the new changes but our economic state will pull us down because we lack the requirements to support the state-of-the-art digital technology for online education system. This will just cause students to be more restless and hopeless as they keep up with the others who are well-off.

We are not ready. The Philippines is not ready for a coronavirus which now cripples our health, education, economy and agriculture sectors. Our education is not ready for online education system that we even strive for higher budget every year. Our health system is not ready to fight a strong virus that could actually wipe out the entire human population in a blink. Our economy is not even stable that we import some of our commodities just to keep up the demand. Our agriculture is still thriving for more serious and continuous aide from the government to suffice the need of every Filipino because the new generation is declining its engagement to such.

But I still believe that Filipinos are very resilient and innovative that we can make it until the virus has been contained or controlled. God bless Pilipinas!

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