A youth group said on Tuesday that it has called for a national online class boycott in a bid to extract accountability from the government for its failure to “take responsibility” for the issues in the education sector caused by the pandemic and recent disasters in the country.
In a statement, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) assailed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for supposedly “evading accountability for the hardships experienced by millions of students and parents under the government’s distance learning program.”
CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III had earlier opposed the idea of a nationwide or a Luzon-wide academic break being pushed due to struggles in the “new normal” learning.
De Vera added that the decision to suspend classes in universities during disasters would be up to concerned local government units (LGUs) and school authorities as they are in the “best position to determine what is happening on the ground.”
SPARK spokesman John Lazaro also slammed the administration for failing to take decisive action and choosing to make dismissive remarks instead which they said students could no longer endure.
“We should have not undergone any of all these issues had President Duterte acted decisively in favor of the poor families by issuing an Executive Order to implement an Academic Freeze since he knew precisely that we were in no way ready to shift to distance learning but instead, we got threats of defunding and failing our subjects from Harry Roque,” Lazaro said.
The group announced that its Katipunan Chapter will be joining the student strike at the Ateneo de Manila University on November 25.
“The Ateneo strike is only the beginning. We will not hesitate to call for wider class boycotts if our issues remain unaddressed,” Lazaro warned.
SPARK has launched multiple campaigns regarding the implementation of distance learning, including calls for an academic freeze and for increased social aid for teachers and school workers.
It continues to demand changes in the education sector, including nationalizing the telecommunications and power industries, and providing subsidies for students and teachers’ gadgets and Internet connections.