Students get online assistance amid the New Normal

Nearly 860 students in secondary and tertiary levels in need were provided with financial aid amidst the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to education systems worldwide.

(Aboitiz Foundation / MANILA BULLETIN)

To help students cope with the challenges in the New Normal in education, the Aboitiz Group through its scholarship program under its social development arm Aboitiz Foundation, continues to assist students who need support in their studies.

Apart from the usual financial assistance, the foundation has allowed monthly allowances of the scholars to be converted to laptop subsidy. This is applicable for students who have limited means or resources to purchase tools for a “hybrid” type or online schooling.

Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer Maribeth Marasigan said the foundation has to “innovate to provide relevant support to its scholars especially at this unusual time.”

Recently, the foundation also launched the Aboitiz Scholarship Portal. This is a one-stop hub for its scholars that contains updates, advisories, learning materials, and a scholars’ profile dashboard.

This innovation, Marasigan said, is how the scholarship program adapts to the new normal of doing transactions and engagements online. “As the world continues to change due to the pandemic, Aboitiz Foundation also made its education programs adapt by establishing online platforms, and conducting online learning sessions that will keep our scholars stay connected, engaged, and informed,” she added.

Last month, the Aboitiz scholars also gathered online for the Aboitiz Beyond Classrooms (ABC) Learning Series. This is the first virtual general assembly of its scholars and was attended by over 280 high school and college scholars in Metro Manila and Cebu via YouTube livestream.

Aboitiz scholar and an incoming Grade 12 student at Southwestern University Jarixa Balbuena said that the session taught them to see weaknesses as strengths. “It also helped us channel positivism in our mindset and in whatever situations we face, we should always instill a positive and flexible outlook,” she added.

The virtual general assembly aimed to strengthen the engagement of scholars, and prepare them in welcoming the new normal in their academic life. For this school year, the scholars attended a learning session with the topic “Building Resilience for a Flourishing New Normal” with Dr. Sheila Marie Hocson, the former President of the Philippine Guidance and Counselling Association (PGCA).

The webinar also taught scholars to learn and capitalize on strengths that can help them navigate through online learning and studying at home.

The participants were also asked to identify sources of inspiration that can be their anchor as they face the adversities and challenges brought by the pandemic.

Since the Aboitiz Senior High School Financial Assistance Program started in 2003, it has benefited nearly 3,000 students nationwide, while the Aboitiz College Scholarship Program has supported 970 scholars since its inception.

Over the years, the Aboitiz Foundation has been implementing various education programs including school building donations, upgrading of school facilities, scholarships and teacher training, and many other interventions that have benefited over 39,0000 students in 2019.