Our cheat sheet from our talk with Katarina Rodriguez, Henry Motte-Muñoz, and PJ Foronda-Tanglao
Last Oct. 19, MB Youth Talks, a series of webinars in collaboration with entrepreneurship network Impact Hub Manila, discussed the ramifications of the big shift online. In the first part of our two-part “New Age of Education” webinars, we heard from Save the Children Philippines ambassador and Miss World Philippines 2018 Katarina Rodriguez, founder of Edukasyon.ph Henry Motte-Muñoz, and the former national chairperson of the Student Rights and Welfare Philippines (STRAW PH) PJ Foronda-Tanglao. Impact Hub Manila founder and CEO Ces Rondario moderated the episode.
In my introduction, I mentioned that the webinar was one that I was particularly excited for because of our amazing line-up and because of how timely the topic was.
While there has been a lot of disruption due to Covid-19, arguably the biggest disruption is within the education sector, with ramifications that will literally last a generation. If we have to find a silver lining in all of this, it is that there is an opportunity to re-evaluate what is arguably a broken system long before Covid. Change has been a long time coming in the education sector, both in the way it is delivered, which is severely affected by the pandemic, but also in the content itself.
In case you missed the webinar, you can check it out in full on our Facebook page here.
You can also check out our cheat sheet with some of the exciting points from our discussion:
Henry Motte-Muñoz: ‘Digitizing is good, but is no silver bullet’
When Henry founded Edukasyon.ph years ago, it was with the strong belief that technology is the means for providing equal education opportunities to the Filipino youth. While this may not have been the way he imagined it to go, Covid-19 has caused a transformational shift that sees the education sector thrust into the digital space. There is DepEd TV, modules being shared online, and even online classes. But at the end of the day, digitization is no “silver bullet.”
Henry shared with the attendees some advice that was given to him when Edukasyon.ph was just starting out: “If you digitize a broken process, it is still going to be a broken process, just digital.”
The advice-slash-warning aptly sums up the current situation that students are facing. The shortcomings in the education system, which have been there for years, are now online, exposed, and going viral. It is arguably a good thing as it brings attention to the faults in the system, but only if something is done. From teacher training to infrastructure investment, there is the opportunity to create an environment where technology is effectively leveraged in the education sector.
PJ Foronda-Tanglao: On behalf of the youth, we are not just tamad to learn
Speaking as a current student affected by the education disruption, PJ mentioned how the complaints of the youth are often quickly dismissed by other generations. Tinatamad ang estudyante naman is how the youth are often labeled today. But PJ stresses that the youth have valid concerns when it comes to the big shift online in their education.
A recent STRAW PH survey with over 1,000 respondents from all over the country found that 72 percent of respondents had difficulty in understanding lessons from online classes. There were interruptions in signal, overlapping voices, seemingly simple issues that had major repercussions in the learning environment. Those same issues were being experienced by teachers, as well, affected their ability to properly engage with their students.
“All of these things combined create a very problematic situation for the Philippines,” PJ added. “Despite the great strides and progress […] there is still a lot to be desired. Hindi nig-aarte. These are real situations that are happening with real people.”
Katarina Rodriguez: Opportunities to change the system
Joining us from Siargao, where she is staying safe with loved ones, Katarina shared with us the various projects Save the Children Philippines is running to help support the education of the underprivileged youth, including Project ARAL.
As the conversation with the other panelists opened up to the general disruption students are experiencing in their education, Katarina recognized the opportunity to address the actual content. Relating to her work with Save the Children Philippines, Katarina also advocates for greater age-appropriate reproductive health education access for the youth.
“Since we are talking about how our education has been disrupted, I feel like [reproductive health education] is something we could include,” the Save the Children Philippines ambassador added.
She shared her own experience meeting the family of a soon-to-be teenage mother and the lack of understanding they showed to the repercussions of the situation. The financial burden teenage pregnancy places on families, and the disruption it often causes in the education of the young mother, are rarely considered.
“There is a domino effect. If we are able to educate our youth now on the effects of teenage pregnancy, which is one of the causes of poverty, we would be able to decrease other problems we have within the country,” she continued. “And I think school is really the answer. Placing the youth in school, particularly females, giving them the opportunity to dream […] letting them learn everyday, and have some responsibility in their education, by including [reproductive health] education in the curriculum.”
The second part of our “New Age of Education” webinar aired on Oct. 30. You can watch it here.