April 15, 2021
by Thea Estraza
In the face of the ever-growing crisis due to the pandemic, students seem to finally have enough. #AcademicBreakNow was a topic that broke social media earlier this April 2021. Following the enhanced quarantine that took place in the Philippines (and NCR specifically due to the increasing numbers of COVID cases in the country), students turned to their social media accounts to voice out their opposition about their current education system.
The introduction of online classes since the start of the lockdown had always been a controversial topic in the Philippines. Many students believe that it is not an effective way of learning while others only choose to follow through with it in hopes of not wasting a year or two of education due to the pandemic. The reality of the situation is that online classes are sadly not yet up to par with the normal education system we have established prior to the nationwide lockdown. It is true that however you look at it, the system is still flawed and has yet to have substantial improvements since its implementation at the earlier half of 2020. In fact, many students argue that it has gotten worse. It was hence why the #AcademicBreakNow movement had been created through the protests of burned out and struggling students.
The struggle to gain a more compassionate education system has been going on for a long time but with the culmination of our country’s problems growing alongside the rise in numbers of COVID cases, many university student councils came out to advocate the movement. School powerhouses from all over the country like UP, Adamson University, Ateneo, and many more had joined the discussion in hopes that their voices will be listened to by the people who can actually make a difference for the betterment of the Philippine youth’s education.
Many students believe that the school year they have experienced had only added to the decline of their mental and physical health, all with the growing belief that everything they have learned will not be beneficial to their future careers. The lack of face-to-face instruction and hands-on application of the subjects at hand makes it difficult for students to visualize their course and studies in a professional setting. There are also stressors for our youth outside the academic setting including family members who have contracted COVID or even families who are affected by the recent typhoon. The pressure of pressing deadlines and declining grades have pushed many to the limit, leaving them with no choice between focusing on their own schoolwork or their pressing real-life problems.
Taking all of these problems into account, students have decided to push the idea of an Academic Break to aid the many students in need. While student burnout is now a prevalent meme in social media, it is true that many students, and teachers as well, are experiencing the toll of online classes. At the very least, university students would like for the educational system to abolish strenuous deadlines and the endless assignments that are often given to students. This is not only to lessen the workload but also to allow them to have a breather where they can focus their attention on important matters outside their online classes. While the debate is an ongoing discussion, many are hopeful that this may bring along a much-needed change to the current system.