Breaking Barriers in Education: Child and Computer Interaction
“If you digitize a broken process, it is still going to be a broken process,” Henry recalls being told while starting Edukasyon.ph five years ago.
On our third time collaborating with Manila Bulletin and its Lifestyle and Youth Sections, Impact Hub Manila continues to raise the discourse on what truly encompasses being a young Filipino in the Digital Age. The third MB Youth Talks had successfully elaborated diverse points on The New Age of Education from three diverse speakers as the shift goes completely online.
Ms. World Philippines 2018 Katarina Rodriguez has always believed that access to education must also be a joyous experience. Her work with Save the Children’s Project ARAL involves hands-on approaches to “get children interested in learning through a screen” and make sure even the parents are involved. As Save the Children’s current ambassadress, Katarina encourages everyone not only to donate but to also volunteer on causes that prioritize the welfare of the youth and their student life.
Former Students’ Rights and Welfare Philippines (STRAW PH) national chairperson PJ Foronda-Tanglao believes that the root problem of our educational system and many other issues occurring even prior to COVID-19’s onset is economic asymmetry, where “access to quality education is determined by one’s financial predisposition.”
Sharing his study with STRAWPH comprising 1,000 respondents, 72% found difficulty in understanding lessons due to signal interruption and voice overlap among other issues whereas 67% had internet access but could not guarantee stable internet connection. For PJ, the ongoing issue of not having centralized state regulation for private and public educational sectors has “created ways to contribute to our education at present that are not in line with the reality for children in our age bracket.”
In three “D” buckets, Edukasyon.ph Founder and CEO Henry Motte-Muñoz summarizes the parallel pushes of education amidst the pandemic: the first being “Delay” or the half-lost academic year due to the lack of infrastructures, the “Digitize” bucket where you ‘invest in product and content,’ and the “Disrupt” bucket that challenges to transform how we know education amid the unprecedented health crisis. For the Philippines, Henry proposes a blend of the Digitize and Disrupt bucket.
Throughout the Q&A session, all three speakers were firmly against an academic freeze. “You cannot pause education for an entire country. They [students] lose a lot of what they learn during summer break, if they do not engage in 12 months then they lose a lot more [information],” affirms Henry.
On the other hand, PJ offers a gentle reminder that students must also be given an option to ‘temporarily pause’ their studies depending on their current household situations.
PJ and Henry agree that modern education is unattainable if the struggle with internet speed persists. This is by far the biggest hurdle in the shift to online classes. We have the content for the learning materials, we have the necessary resources to educate, but how do we get it to students?
Proposing a gradual transition in blended learning and strengthening the implementation of welfare support for students have been on the speakers’ respective platforms: PJ is still involved with STRAWPH’s campaigns while Katarina and Henry have their continuous initiatives with Save the Children and Edukasyon.ph respectively.
Optimally, Katarina only hopes for an age-appropriate inclusion of sex education in the Philippine curriculum. PJ wants to expound student’s rights and to explore the mental health dimension of protecting students. As for Henry, he honors the move away from a purely academic education to teach grit, emotional resilience, and civic education.
The MB Youth Talks series only continues to strive for a digitally inclusive environment that allows the youth to locate the tools to further their online education. On the next session happening on October 30, join us in taking the necessary steps to advance through a viable career path in The Future of Work!
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