July 26, 2020 (8:43 PM)

4 min read


CLARIFIED PACING. University President Fr. Joel Tabora SJ, sheds light on student body and faculty concerns in the continued fully-online learning in AdDU during the 2nd Townhall Conversation, July 25. Screenshot taken from SAMAHAN Twitter.

A month after Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) shifted to online academic learning, the SAMAHAN, along with University President Fr. Joel Tabora SJ, Academic Vice President (AVP) Dr. Gina Montalan, and Assistant to the AVP for Online Education (AAVP.OE) Fr. Ulysses Cabayao, SJ, initiated the second Town Hall Conversation yesterday via Zoom to address the students’ numerous concerns.

Over 80 students from the different clusters gathered to raise their concerns and clarifications on the new academic policies especially on the bearing of formative assessments in their grades, to which Tabora said are not graded.

“Formative assessments are not to be graded. If we do not understand this, we are going to pressure our students into giving up. Teachers must understand that the students must not be pressured. If they want to postpone, let them postpone it,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, summative assessments which are to be the bases of students’ final grades are not required to be taken immediately at the end of the semester. 

“The students have a say on when they want to take the summative assessments,” Tabora emphasized, further clarifying that students have one whole year to take the said tests depending on their readiness.

In response to complaints raised by students on professors who do not give due consideration to their students, the University President expressed his frustration and disappointment, mentioning that the said challenges may pose mental health concerns to students.

“If these problems continue, mental health problems can happen. We should not pressure our students. We don’t want our students to give up… I am saddened and a little angry because teachers are constraining you to do this and that. I think dialogues like this should help us get our acts together,” Tabora said.

He asserted the importance of allowing one’s self to keep on learning and bear the understanding of education’s value amidst the health situation happening in the country.

“We’re called to make the best out of this situation. Don’t give up; just continue learning. In order to do that, we must dwell on the questions, ‘Why am I learning?’ ‘Why am I enrolled in AdDU?’ ‘Why is it a privilege to learn in a higher education today?”

“You did not enroll to give up. You enrolled to learn. This year is a year of importance in your own development as Filipinos and as leaders, your own commitment to social justice, your own responsibility to your lives, and to your future families,” he added.

He also emphasized that students should continue to learn at their own pace and not worry too much about the grades they are receiving.

AVP Montalan delivered the keynote message while AAVP.OE Cabayao was co-panelist in the discussion. School Deans were also in attendance to address students’ specific concerns.

Renz Lacorte, SAMAHAN President, stated that he personally found the conversation as productive, open, and progressive.

“One main concern I raised was the scheduling of summative assessments and it was addressed with the assurance that the schedule would be flexible and sensitive to the preparedness of the students to take these exams,” shared Lacorte.

“Academic demands normally produce direct effects to students’ mental health. So these academic issues especially with online education are really a burden for all of us, that’s why these should be addressed swiftly, hence the conversation,” he added.

SINIKOM President Carl Maglinte expressed his belief that learning should be a two-way process, with insights from the students and inputs from the professor.

“I get the point of self-study and learning at your own pace. However, I believe that learning must not solely be given to students. Professors must also give inputs in order to assess the performances of their students on whether they are doing it right or not.” he shared. 

Praising the admin for being “very open to hear the concerns and inquiries of students regarding their different contexts,” Social Sciene Representative Karlo Torreon emphasized the importance of assessing improvements in the problem areas discussed.

“We must be able to first assess in the coming weeks whether there are significant improvements in our online instruction specifically, the ratio of synchronous and asynchronous classes held by the professors and personally, I would like to see even faster responses by the offices in regards to student documents and concerns,” Torreon said.

End the silence of the gagged!

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