Hello, magandang hapon sa ating lahat or should I say good afternoon to all of you. My name is Jayson. I am a 17-year old child leader from the Philippines, and a Grade 12 Humanities and Social Sciences student. I am also part of the children’s association in our community. For today, I am the child representative from the Philippines. I am here to share my insights and views about the impact of COVID-19 to the education of children and youth.
The COVID-19 pandemic made a huge and frightful impact in the lives of children. It gives us fear, sorrow, and problems, for it affects our parents’ livelihoods and occupations, our education, and worst of all, it killed plenty of lives and dreams. Furthermore, new restrictions for COVID-19 prevention also forbid us to the things that we used to do. In my own experience, the pandemic also affected me and my family. When the pandemic began to intensify, I felt anxious because I’m afraid that my family or my loved ones might get infected by the virus, especially since my father and eldest sibling still had to go to work amidst and in spite of the threat of COVID-19. Nevertheless, I am very grateful to our almighty God because he always kept us away from being infected by the virus.
Moreover, when it comes to the new normal in our education, it seems to me that it’s quite difficult to adapt to the new ways of learning because besides from the need to learn how to use the new learning modalities, the major problem here is that not all students have the resources to adapt to the new modalities, especially online classes, due to poverty, which was aggravated by the pandemic. Many students do not have cellphones, laptops, and internet connection which are necessary tools for online education. Indeed, the pandemic is pushing children to drop out of school because according to World Vision’s ACT NOW Report, 47% of child respondents said they had to stop their schoolwork or their learning in order to work and help their family to survive during the pandemic. It is very alarming and at the same time, it is sad to think that these poor children and young people have to sacrifice their education and to work in their young age just to help their family.
That’s why, on behalf of my fellow children and fellow students as well, I would like to take this great opportunity to use my voice to encourage our governments to lend their hands towards all of the students, families, and children who are having economic challenges, and as well as to listen and pay more attention to every student’s and teacher’s valuable suggestions, for we desire to resume classes that are safe and meaningful. We, the children and young people, want to continue our education as soon as possible; however, we want this to be done in a way that is safe and equitable. No student should be left behind. Every child must have access to age-appropriate and gender-responsive distance education methods. Governments must also ensure that education reaches the most vulnerable children, particularly children with limited access to the internet or technology and households with several children of different ages. We also need life skills education that can help us to be aware of our rights and to prevent risks to our safety.
Further, I also would like to acknowledge and commend the Philippine Government, especially the Department of Education, for exerting a lot of effort and diligence in order to address the challenges of COVID-19 and to provide opportunities for continuing our education. I would also like to encourage every student and child to keep on striving and to continue their education despite all the happenings this year. And I must say that we should all unite to eradicate our invisible and lethal enemy which is the COVID-19, and all the challenges it has brought upon us.
Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak on behalf of Asia’s children. May God bless our governments and other stakeholders in making safe and equitable education possible for every child.
Jayson is a consistent honor student receiving outstanding recognition for his reading and writing skills. Aside from his academic achievements, he has also been an active child leader in his community. For the past two years, he was elected as an officer in their children’s association and has been actively participating in activities that honed his skills as a facilitator. He continuously joins World Vision Philippines in spearheading activities for the children.