How Suluan Island students face daily challenges in online learning
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the Philippines, education officials have decided to adopt flexible learning, as face-to-face classes have been deemed too risky in the face of the pandemic.
While online learning has presented challenges even to students in the metro, the challenges are much more pronounced for those living in remote areas of the country.
One such area is Suluan Island, an island barangay in the municipality of Guiuan, Samar and the northernmost island in the country.
The island suffers not only from poor internet connection but also from unstable power supply. Most of the residents rely either on solar power mostly provided by NGOs for electricity or the barangay’s generator which only runs for four hours every night from 6 to 10 p.m.
Aside from academic requirements, the lack of stable connection and electricity adds to the challenges that students such as Danica Maanad and Arlotz Lacao face every day.
For the past 8 months, the two walk to a makeshift hut atop a small mountain some three kilometers away every school day just to be able to access stable internet.
Because of these, Maanad, a second-year Education student of Leyte Normal University (LNU), and Lacao, a senior high school student at the Immaculate Concepcion High School sometimes fail to participate in their school activities.
Maanad said she plans to take up accountancy after finishing her current course, adding that she took up education because of the free tuition offered in LNU.
These challenges however, have not stopped both from doing their best to submit their requirements. Maanad said she puts in the effort to be able to research and answer her school modules on time, knowing this is something she has to do to be able to achieve her dream of becoming a successful certified public accountant someday.
An aerial view of Suluan Island taken on May 20, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News
Arlots Lacao (left) and Danica Maanad prepare their things before heading off to a makeshift hut on May 23, 2021. The hut is the only place that has stable internet connection as the whole barangay has no cellular signal. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News
Lacao and Maanad begin their daily walk of some three kilometers to be able to join their online classes on May 23, 2021. The two have been doing this for the past 8 months. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News
The two use solar power to charge the gadgets needed such as a laptops mobile wifi, and powerbanks on May 23, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News
Maanad and Lacao climb a small mountain to get to the hut on May 23, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News
The two review their notes on the previos class before starting on May 23, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News
The two spend the afternoon accessing the internet and attending class on May 23, 2021. Alren Beronio, ABS-CBN News