Return to site



· Volume III Issue II

The COVID-19 had brought unprecedented academic challenges throughout the School Year 2020-2021, especially in public schools with financially challenged students who had difficulties coping with the demands of distance education.

But, despite the financial constraints, there were students who pulled every string they could grab just to fulfill their subject requirements, instead of taking advantage of the lenient educational setup for modular and online learning modalities.

Roughly 30 to 40% of the senior high school students from different public schools opted to work while studying, in anticipation of their parents’ or guardians’ inability to pay for their increasingly unsettled daily expenses; some of them worked in a bakery, junkshop, market, laundry shop, construction sites, etc., while the rest worked informally in mobile stalls.

The Department of Education, along with the Local Government Unit (LGU) and some Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), donated school supplies, tablets and internet load allowances for those students incapable of attending online classes and submitting output regularly.

Mindful of the stakeholders’ limited academic assistance, these working students exercised self-reliance and self-regulation towards their high school graduation in July 2021, thus ensuring their smooth transition to tertiary education. Never would you hear them say: “Absent po ako sa online class, kasi wala pa po yung bigay na load ni Mayor… Wala pa po kasi ang cash aid, Social Amelioration Program (SAP)…”

There may have been students who had shown abusive acts toward the compassionate and generous treatment of the public school officials. Generally, however, the number of responsible students, under the New Normal educational policy, was significantly higher than the irresponsible ones. 

In fact, the growing distance learning education challenges brought out the best traits of the underprivileged learners by independently finding legitimate financial resources in these trying times, instead of heavily relying on the government assistance and on their parents/guardians’ support.

Initially, the presence of pandemic was seen as the most tragic phenomenon whose effects are worse than the usual calamities’. But the faster the COVID-19 progresses, the higher the determination and resiliency of the students become. 

That is, the pandemic may have posed threats to destabilize our long-standing norms, but no amount of pandemic could abandon and invalidate the educational aspirations of every Filipino learner whose dreams are sturdier than the pandemic implications. 

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other global educational assessments for Mathematics and Science may have shown that the Philippines has logged behind, through pen-and-paper tests, but the Philippine Basic Education curriculum is commendable in terms of empowering the students to strategically face socio-economic crises amidst the online learning modalities. 

The ability of the students to rise above these academic hardships is one of the indicators that our Basic Education teachers, with the unwavering support all the education stakeholders, have succeeded in preparing our students for their college and work demands through ‘transferable skills.’

Hence, the COVID-19 may leave scars and wounds in various aspects of Filipinos’ lives, but the ongoing pandemic proves that one of the Filipino values, resourcefulness/self-reliance, has remained in force. 

Through self-sufficiency and self-discipline for learning and with the support of school officials and the rest of the stakeholders, students can not only survive but also thrive in their academic journey, despite the global health crisis.