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  • #PagodNaKami Trends Among Students As School Year 2021-2022 Starts

    Some netizens reacted by scolding students asking for academic break.
    by Czainnah Gajito .
#PagodNaKami Trends Among Students As School Year 2021-2022 Starts
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano
  • The new Philippine academic school year officially started Monday, September 13, 2021, with over 24 million enrolled students, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

    The number of students for the school year 2021-2022 is still expected to increase since the enrollment period for public schools was extended until September 30.

    In her opening remarks at the National School Opening Day virtual program, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones says she is celebrating the “victory and success” of the school opening last year and this 2021.

    “Last year, we opened classes and we successfully ended those classes. Now, we are opening another school year. Isn’t that success worthy of celebration?”

    While it was a joyful tone in Briones’ speech, Filipino students and parents had mixed reactions as the country marks its second year of distance learning.

    Trending: #PagodNaKami #AcademicBreakNow

    Over on Twitter, the hashtag #AcademicBreakNow and #PagodNaKami trended with many students airing their frustration and exhaustion with online classes.

    Some of the tweets read:

    “DepEd really thinks that our learning system right now is effective. Porket nakausad ng isang taon, okay yung learning system. Not all of us are digitally, financially, and mentally capable of handling this system.”

    “The bare minimum of starting classes while thousands of students and teachers are missing modules, laptops, and proper internet connection while DepEd is blindly pushing forward isn’t a celebration. Do your job. Open back schools and make them safe for everyone.”

    “What schools need to realize is that students don’t just call for #AcademicBreakNow out of nowhere. It entails the RIGHT SET of conditions (e.g., collective burnout, rising cases, crises) for students to have a united call. Hindi yan basta-bastang 'collective katamaran.”

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    “#PagodNaKami and #AcademicBreakNow are not asking for schools to close down. Kaya nga may kaakibat na #LigtasNaBalikEskwela because we want them to OPEN since this setup is unbearable economic and health-wise.”

    “Imagine forcing yourself to complete dozens of requirements while being mentally and emotionally unstable due to this pandemic and online classes, and we don’t have a choice but to do it. We can all agree that we need a break. #AcademicBreakNow #PagodNaKami.”

    Sentiments about the difficulty of continued online classes and distance learning among parents were mixed.

    Some parents stood with the students’ plight and gathered to protest before President Corazon C. Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City. They objected to another year of online classes and demanded a “ligtas na balik na eskwela.”

    Criticism for students asking for academic break 

    Other netizens took to social media to “scold” students who demanded an academic break. They compared the plights of workers and students and others labeled student-supporters of an academic freeze as “tamad” or weak.

    Here were some of the comments on Facebook:

    “So kaming mga workers kailangan din ng long break. Kakapagod mag-work kasi may pandemic at nakakaapekto sa mental health. Ang daming bayarin...Ni wala pa nga kayong trabaho o ibang responsibilidad ang daming reklamo. ‘Pag ba break kayo sa school kayo ang papalit sa mga magulang nyo mag-work o tumulong man lang?”

    “Baka pag nag-sipag trabaho na kayo pangarapin nyong sana nag-aaral na lang kayo ulit. O kung ayaw nyo, makipagpalit nalang kayo sa mga taong may gusto pero walang pampaaral!”

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    “Physical burnout? Come on, online class na napagod ka pa? Pero ‘pag online games kahit walang tulog at kain, go lang?”

    “Yung mga pagod na, ‘wag na mag enroll. Una, sinasayang niyo lang perang pinagpaguran ng mga nanay at tatay niyo. Wag nyo idamay sa katamaran niyo yung mga gustong makatapos at may gustong marating sa buhay. Walang pumilit sa inyo mag-aral.”

    Distance learners need support

    There were netizens who defended the students’ struggles with online classes and expressed their support.

    “I am a teacher and I resigned because of the online class[es]. It’s so hard. I couldn’t feel my effectiveness as a teacher anymore. Nakakapagod, sobra. Mas masarap talaga pag face to face. Calling for [academic] break is good.”

    “Not a student anymore, but feel ko yung hirap ng students ngayong pandemic. Ang hirap na hindi kayo kaharap ng teacher mo, and wala kayong friends na kasama physically na pwedeng tumulong or magturo ‘pag may lessons na hindi naiintindihan.”

    “Siguro sasabihin ng iba may Google naman. But iba pa rin kasi pag may taong magtuturo or tao na kasama/karamay man lang. Parang ang unfair din naman kung sasabihan natin silang weak because in the first place, ‘di natin narasanan yung nararanasan nila.”

    The Philippines is currently the only country in Asia that does not hold face-to-face classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    According to Reportr, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list pointed that DepEd does not have concrete plans on how to safely reopen schools.

    “Walang plano kung kailan at paano ligtas na mabubuksan ang mga ito. Biktima ng kapalpakan ng gobyernong Duterte ang edukasyon at kinabukasan ng milyun-milyong kabataang Pilipino. Pasan-pasan ng mga guro, bata at magulang ang bigat ng kapabayaan,” it said in a statement.

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    If you have a school-age child, what is your opinion about academic break? And what do you NOT want to see this school year of online learning?

    Research by Darlene Estandarte

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