Even financially challenged students are now helping other students who need gadgets for online classes. As the upcoming academic year is starting up, the problems for online setup persist. The struggles brought by the pandemic didn’t stop some students from making sure that everyone was on board for the next coming academic year.
Initiatives Launched by Students
Students from the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu) are helping each other to ensure that nobody will be left behind for the upcoming academic year. Along with some student organizations on the campus, they launch different campaigns to help the students in need of gadgets and internet connections. The campaigns include monetary, in-kind donations, raffle draws, merchandise, and others.
The current students of the campus are helping through direct and indirect ways of donating. Some students are the mind of the current income-generating projects, which act as the bridge between the benefactors and the beneficiary. Students buy some merchandise that they like, and the proceeds will go to those who need them. The items include sweatshirts, tote bags, and t-shirts. In order to make sure that the buyers will like the design, they launched a design-making contest in which the best design is chosen. In addition, there is also a raffle draw. The ticket for this raffle draw is very cheap in order to entice people to buy more. It also caters to those who have a limited budget but are eager to help. For monetary donations, mobile wallets and banks are being used for efficiency.
The beneficiaries of these initiatives are students who do not have gadgets for online classes. Some of them may have gadgets, but these are shared with siblings. This hinders them to efficiently work on the demanding academic requirements in college. Meanwhile, a number of students in the university came from remote areas that are yet to be reached by cable internet. They need data allocation to access the remote learning materials. The data allocation needed may be expensive for them. These are just some of the reasons why they need help.
Re-opening of classes
Some state universities in the Philippines are set to open up classes this September. According to the World Bank, since the start of the pandemic, the Philippines is just one of only two countries left in the Pacific region and East Asia to open face-to-face classes as of the early months of this year. Although students are crying out for face-to-face classes today, the universities are adamant to stick to a remote learning setup. This is in compliance with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolutions (IATF), which is the government body that oversees response for COVID-19 in the country. The remote learning setup is not ideal for an optimum learning experience.
For a particular college on campus, currently, one of every ten students needs gadget assistance. This is also the ratio for students who need financial assistance for data allocation. The university (UP Cebu), also has its own financial and gadgets assistance for those who need it. Students who apply for this assistance undergo a careful process that identifies the actual struggles of students in an online setup. There are also surveys in which students are encouraged to participate in order to identify their status in remote learning. The information gathered includes the speed of internet connection, frequency of power outages in their area, and others. The information is then used to assist the students for an optimum remote learning experience. With all these efforts, it is still not guaranteed that students are not struggling due to many factors that need to be considered in this learning setup. The applicants for the university’s assistance are tied to the resources available for them. There are chances that some students who need assistance may not be catered to. The donation drive done by student organizations is a great help to cater to these students also.
The benefactors are not limited to students. There are donors who are graduates of the campus already. This is their way of giving back to their alma mater. The donation drive effectiveness is limited to the financial capacity of students and other stakeholders. These donation drives are not new. There are a lot of similar donation drives from other educational institutions and organizations that were launched even before this. In other words, there are competing initiatives that may affect the effectiveness of the ongoing drive in UP Cebu. Currently, the student organizations are yet to complete their target donations in order to cater to all students who need the help.
So far, the initiatives done by the student organizations are effective. Currently, a student organization on the campus is able to secure a good amount from the benefactors that will help a number of students. This may include assistance for both gadgets and data allocation.
Youth as hope for the country
There are a lot of problems that the pandemic has brought to us, and these really are challenging. Some people may have forgotten the power of the youth due to the stigma that they are inexperienced and what not. In this example, the youth has proved to everyone that they can do little things with lasting good impacts, to even the greatest achievement in history. The Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal is always right about the youth being the hope of the country.