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Drop that “lazy students” narrative; these kids know what they’re fighting for

Today, several schools are taking up spots in Twitter’s trending topics as students boycott their classes to go on mass strikes and call for government accountability. My alma mater is, and I’m betting your school’s there, too. 

Students from the University of Makati trended #AcademicBreakNowUMAK after several other universities suspended classes for a week. Far Eastern University’s central student government even took it on a public platform, using their gathered data to illustrate how urgent the matter is. #CEUDoBetter, #SanBedaSUSPENDCLASSESNOW and #AcademicBreakNowAdamson are just some of the hashtags calling for academic ease.

The thing is, I’m seeing, reading and even hearing things that I cannot believe people are still saying in 2020. Something along the lines of, “Bakit ’di na lang kayo sumunod? Mag-aral na lang kayo, ang tatamad niyo.”

Students pushing for an academic break aren’t lazy or goofing off or ignoring school learning at all. TBH, they’re even applying what they learn in school by calling out injustices and speaking up for themselves.

They, along with teachers, have to bear the brunt of online classes and they’ve had enough.

No one was prepared for this pandemic, that is a given. But to expect students and teachers alike to continue classes while connection is spotty and requirements keep piling up while people are literally dying is the opposite of the student-centric environment that a lot of schools promise in their mission-vision statement. 

Trends usually have a short life span, but hashtags like #WalangIwanan and #NoStudentLeftBehind are recurring ones because this is the reality. It’s still here; there’s hardly a “victory” when lives are on the line.  

So no, boomers. The mass student strikes today aren’t an indication of students wanting more vacation time to chill. Not every student is  privileged to be in a comfortable learning environment, especially not in the aftermath of two typhoons.

Whether they’re pushing for academic freeze, academic breaks or safe back-to-school measures, these students just want their respective schools to hear them out. We impose high standards on students to complete their requirements (actually, on ordinary people in general) yet there are some who are content and even turn a blind eye to some public officials.  

And TBH, “school pride” is such a foreign phrase to me now. It only becomes relevant when its sports season or when fellow alumni achieve something in their fields of expertise. It’s hard to feel any pride right now when it took two typhoons and mass strikes to get to this point.

 

Read more:
After enjoying a nice dinner and karaoke, Harry Roque tells students to prioritize school work
Are online classes still a “victory” when hashtags like #FEUHSKalma exist?
This (unofficial) university ranking possibly reveals the online class struggle

 

Art by Yel Sayo

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