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From Mass Academic Strikes to School Closures, Here’s How Local Private Schools Are Doing in a Pandemic

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With the global crisis, many institutions are taking a beating

 

 

Eight months into the pandemic and the longest lockdown in the world, the short-term and long-term effects of this global crisis are seeping into all facets of life. With establishments shuttering down and businesses going bankrupt, it’s no surprise that the educational system in the Philippines is suffering adverse consequences and taking a beating.

 

For the College of the Holy Spirit Manila in Mendiola, it’s a case of closure for the 107-year-old historic institution. CHSM will be closing its doors in 2022 because of unforeseen difficulties brought about by the pandemic such as challenges attracting new recruits. In an official statement made on their social platforms, they shared, “Be it known that the College of the Holy Spirit will voluntarily cease operations at the end of AY (Academic Year) 2021-2022.”

 

 

In a separate letter created by Sr. Carmelita Victoria of the Mission Congregation of the Servants addressed to the community, she shares, “Private education has faced an increasingly challenging environment resulting from government policies on K-12; free tuition in state colleges and universities, local universities and college, and state-run technical and vocational institutions; and the significant increase in public school teachers’ salaries compared to their private school counterparts.”

 

She adds, “The reduction or loss in family income, mobility restrictions and social distancing requirements, and the new demands of distance learning have adversely affected enrollment, not only in CHSM, but in most private schools.” Their sister schools, however, will continue operating.

 

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With the slew of calamities that hit the country recently including Typhoon Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses, undergraduates and alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University are voicing out their disdain for the government’s inaction during the pandemic through a nationwide academic strike. In a bold move, the students plan on not submitting requirements, which started on the 18th of November, until people in position heed to their call for good governance and “[heed] people’s demands for proper calamity aid and pandemic response.”

 

 

Various youth groups and other students from several universities mobilized and joined the protest in the ADMU campus last November 20, as part of celebrating International Students’ Day (November 17). In a strongly-worded statement, students share: “We cannot sit idly by and do our modules, ignoring the fact that the Philippine nation is in shambles. We sacrifice what we have—that is, our access to education—for those who do not share our privilege.”

 

This has both received backlash from members of the government, including Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, and much praise from communities all over, especially online.

 

With the finish line still nowhere in sight, it is unknown how much more private schools will be affected by the global pandemic. But it is unveiling deeply rooted and profound problems that have existed way before lockdown.

 

 

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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