[Y-SPACE] On students should be vaccinated
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
by Maria Nicole Dominique Dimayacyac
Assume that you are from the class of 2012. How unlucky are you to be one of the first K-12 students, then end up spending most of your college years online and possibly graduate virtually? Disappointing, I know. However, it is not the situation that is at fault, but the system.
Education in the Philippines has been disrupted by unexpected and unprepared plans, with students and families bearing the brunt of the consequences. As the pandemic continues, an increasing number of students and families are struggling to cope with the sorry state of Philippine education. But if the government could find ways to reopen the economy, why could it not find ways to reopen schools safely?
It was in March 2020 when COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed across the country, prohibiting face-to-face classes. As the lockdown had affected household finances and with some having no access to a computer or internet, many Filipinos pushed for the education sector to skip the school year so that no student falls behind. Yet, online classes were still enforced, causing students to struggle with online learning and parents to bear the burden that comes with it.
According to the November 2020 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, released in February 2021, 87% or 29.8 million school-age Filipinos (5-20 years old) were enrolled, having 13% or 4.4 million unenrolled. In conclusion, distance learning is a luxury that only the privileged can afford. More so, it will never be a long-term solution because what if the pandemic were here to stay? Students may not be able to cope up anymore.
Ramp up the vaccination
Since students are not yet in COVID vaccination priority until there is sufficient supply, President Duterte must step up his game to achieve his goal of vaccinating at least 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021. The Philippines had received 52,792,130 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of September 2. Assuming that everyone has to get two doses, that is enough for over 23.3 million Filipinos already, with 43.7 million to go.
However, according to the May 2021 SWS survey, 31% of Filipino adults are unsure whether to get vaccinated, and 17% are opposed to vaccination. Hence, the government must carry out well-planned information campaigns that all vaccines are safe, effective and will protect them from the worst of COVID-19. It is either that or hesitation will only slow down vaccination unless the government will allow those who are lower on the priority list to take any vaccine available.
With the pandemic happening, millions of students were left in a state of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety. College students are in the most critical stage of their education, and resumption of face-to-face classes may seem like a pipe dream. The government must focus on improving vaccination and possibly begin prioritizing those students who are eligible for a vaccine. The more fully vaccinated Filipinos, the better.
Maria Nicole Dominique “Nikki” Dimayacyac, 21, is a small girl with big dreams. She is a Journalism student at Cavite State University and a consistent Dean's lister who prefers feature writing over straight news writing.
YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.