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CSC President proposes learning adjustments to CHED

In an online meeting yesterday with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Central Student Council (CSC) President Robert Dominic Gonzales raised some of the students’ concerns on flexible learning in the University.

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Photo by Julius Villavieja

In an online meeting yesterday with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Central Student Council (CSC) President Robert Dominic Gonzales raised some of the students’ concerns on flexible learning in the University.

“We cannot deny the fact that this pandemic has been very anti-poor and further marginalizes those who are underprivileged,” Gonzales said in the speech he delivered which he posted on his Twitter account.

He urged the government to focus on the problems brought about by the pandemic and “polish everything that needs to be polished” as we shift to the new normal.

“How do we ensure that quality education combined with the welfare of the community are both considered?” Gonzales said.

Among the recommendations Gonzales presented to CHED are mandatory consultation between teachers and students, adjustments in online classes, training and workshops for faculty members, and consideration of the well-being of the stakeholders.

“Online classes, for students, are seemingly becoming a ‘compliance issue’ rather than a ‘learning matter,’” he said.

“We proposed here minimizing the number of requirements and assessments given to students while making sure that the intended learning outcomes are still received,” he added. 

For synchronous online classes, Gonzales suggested provision of recorded lectures in case students would not be able to attend, while for asynchronous online classes, all needed material shall be made available.

Gonzales also acknowledged that not only the students but also the faculty members are having a difficult time adjusting to the transition of the learning system, which is why training and workshops should be implemented.

“Among the best practices that the University implores is the constant and continuous dialogues and consultations being conducted between the student councils and the administration,” he said. 

“This is an important aspect that everyone must consider, because again, we go back to the fact that the students are the major stakeholders of the University,” he added.

General concerns like unavailability of resources, inconducive learning environment, and adjustment of fees were also reiterated by Gonzales at the end of his talk.

“In our efforts to alleviate the problems that everyone is facing, in one way or another, and while online classes may not be the most effective means of delivering education… I am hoping that these concerns and recommendations get considered for all institutions in our country,” he said. 

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Faculty of Pharmacy grieves over loss of biochemistry pillar

The UST Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) expressed their grief and condolences over the passing of one of the pillars of the Biochemistry Department, Asst. Prof. Peter C. Torres, MSc. 

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Photo courtesy of the University website

The UST Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) expressed their grief and condolences over the passing of one of the pillars of the Biochemistry Department, Asst. Prof. Peter C. Torres, MSc. 

“Years you have spent in educating and helping your students reach their dreams to become professionals. Although you have departed from us physically, you will remain in all of our hearts forever,” the FoP student council said yesterday, June 4, in their official Twitter account.

Torres is regarded by his students as an “inspirational professor.” He died on June 3 at the age of 64. 

“All of these years wouldn’t go to waste as you have helped your students reach their goals to become professionals and develop their character that would be beneficial in the real-life setting,” the student council also said in their official Facebook page.

Former students of Torres also flocked online to mourn and express their sadness over his death.

“[H]e’s one of the professors that makes for a very interesting panel [during] defense… [H]e has a lot of questions that can test your knowledge,” Biochemistry graduate Lara Lumayag said.

One of his achievements in the academe was his election as one of the directors in the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in November 2017. He worked with the organization for two years. Jayziel Khim Budino

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UST partners with Smart telco, distributes free pocket wifi

The Connectivity Assistance Program will benefit both students and faculty members who “may be in need of the gadget that provides much-needed ability to communicate and stay connected for academic activities.”

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The University, in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications, will provide 5,000 Smart Bro Data and Pocket WiFi with 8GB of free data to students for next academic year, the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) announced, Monday, June 1. 

“UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. spearheaded the Connectivity Assistance Program that is consistent with the University’s to enable students to succeed in the educative process by ensuring accessibility and flexibility in learning,” the press release reads. 

University of Santo Tomas Press ReleaseUST partners with PLDT/Smart for free pocket Wi-Fi for students

UST Office of Public Affairsさんの投稿 2020年6月1日月曜日

The first ever partnership with the telecommunication company and academic institution was initiated by the Faculty of Engineering and Institute of Information and Computer Sciences.

The Connectivity Assistance Program will benefit both students and faculty members who “may be in need of the gadget that provides much-needed ability to communicate and stay connected for academic activities.”

The University Rector’s program was supported by the Faculty of Engineering dean Philipina A. Marcelo, Ph.D and Institute of Information and Computing Sciences director Jerralyn T. Padua.

Two thousand students, according to Dean Marcelo, have already signed up for the program.

The distribution of the first 500 units started on May 16 via courier services and Dean Marcelo herself within Metro Manila, Cainta, and Bulacan areas, OPA said.

Last April, Thomasians brought in social media their complaints regarding the resumption of online classes, specifically the issue of internet connection and equipment availability.

The Central Student Council also submitted a petition letter to relay to the school administration the concerns of the students. Jayziel Khim Budino

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UST implements ‘enriched virtual mode’ next academic year; extends financial assistance

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

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The Office of the Rector urged everyone “to respond, cope, survive, and persist” as it sets to proceed with the upcoming Academic Year 2020-2021 through remote online and offline delivery of classes, Wednesday, May 27.

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

“The University shall implement a mode of instruction rooted in the principles of communion and encounter, one that promotes dialogue and ensures accessibility and flexibility in learning,” Ang said regarding the plan to continue learning with the new guidelines.

“We shall optimize the expertise of our faculty, not only through team-teaching approaches, but through carefully planned combinations,” the letter also read.

Face-to-face mode of instruction will only be done once “allowed by government regulations, and shall be done with the strict implementation of public health standards for everyone’s safety.”

Financial assistance

The University further elaborated the plans to allocate financial assistance to its students struggling to continue education with school fees.

The letter stated: “[I]n consideration of the adverse economic impact… the University has taken the initiative to provide our students financial assistance.”

Some of the plans for the upcoming academic year include no tuition fee increase, adjustment of the table of fees, continuation of the scholarships granted during the second term of A.Y. 2019-2020 until the end of the year, and implementation of staggered payment schemes, among others.

Academic Year 2020-2021 is set to start this August 13, with the first term ending on December 18.

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