By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
A 20-year-old student was forced to climb a mountain in Claveria, Masbate just to get stable internet connection to submit her class requirements.
This, as online classes in her university continued amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
In a video posted on Twitter, Mapua University engineering student Franz Dominique Berdida was seen sitting at the top of a mountain under a flashlight and working on her final exams on a laptop while complaining about the lack of internet signal.
The student’s Facebook posts show that this was not her first time to use this solution in the face of unstable internet connection. There was even a time when she climbed a tree just to get a stable signal.
“It was not my first time to hike the mountain. Every time we have an activity, I go to the mountain just to send the requirements,” she told the Manila Bulletin.
Berdida also said that other students in her hometown also climb mountains when they need to work on their class requirements because they cannot catch a signal in their barangay.
“Wala po kasi talagang signal sa barangay namin kaya ang mga tao dito ay talagang nagpupursiging pumunta sa bundok (There is really no signal in our barangay, that’s why the residents here really persevere to climb mountains),” she said.
Berdida added that after her video went viral, some of her schoolmates told her that they are experiencing similar difficulties in terms of unstable internet connection, despite living in cities.
Although she thinks holding online classes is the “best option” during the COVID-19 crisis and her teachers have been “considerate and lenient,” Berdida urge university officials to be more understanding to students.
“In this time of pandemic, we don’t have a choice. I think hindi naman mahihirapan ang estudyante kung hindi naman mahina ang internet o signal sa online classes (the students will not find online classes difficult if they have better internet connection or signal),” she said. “I wish they would be more understanding. They should hear the complaints and concerns of the students more.”
Several colleges and universities pushed through with holding online classes as parts of the country are placed under enhanced community quarantine.
This move was met with outcry from students who cite unstable internet connection and lack of resources as reasons why they will not be able to adjust to online classes.
Meanwhile, other schools decided to automatically give passing remarks to their students, who they said are suffering from mental, emotional, economic, and social strains brought by the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones said the opening of schoolyear 2020-2021 will be on Aug. 24.
Under the “new normal,” students will be allowed to go to class either physically or via online.