One Last Voice for S.Y. 2019-2020, Together We Speak Amidst the Pandemic
Greetings from the Supreme Student Government (SSG) of the University of the East - Caloocan A.Y. 2019-2020.
We write this letter to express our several concerns toward the administration that need to be addressed. These concerns are by the Basic Education Department students, most especially the Graduating Senior High School Batch of 2020. We understand that everyone is still coping with the effects of the pandemic, but we cannot just wait and let time pass. In fact, we have been trying to coordinate with the Basic Education Department through email. However, until now, no updates have been given regarding the matter except for those about graduation pictures and the virtual ceremony.
As former UE Supreme Student Government (SSG) Officers, we request for effective, favorable, and immediate action for the sake of the students' welfare. In relation to this issue, let us outline our concerns:
Graduation / Commencement Rites
We were informed that there is a plan of conducting our Online Closing Ceremony for S.Y 2019–2020 this September 2020. Given this information, we would like to offer, as suggestions, the following possible courses of action that can be taken by the administration for the fair benefit of the students:
(A) Push the Actual Commencement Exercise to 2021, if the situation permits. Needless to say, this ceremony is significant to each and every one of the students. Such an event in which sacrifices, efforts, and hardships are given recognition must not be taken lightly and would be best conducted in the appropriate environment.
(B) Online Closing Ceremony, with the condition that the administration should provide the graduating students their togas and other items that have been included and paid for in the graduation fee.
(C) Online Closing Ceremony, with the condition that the administration should refund the amount that students have paid for if action (B) is not practicable. Based on the registration form, the graduation fee is ₱949.00.
We would also like to make our concerns regarding the unused SSG funds known. The remaining amount of ₱120,000.00 of said funds can and must be used for the benefit of the students through efforts such as:
(A) Tangible materials such as pocket wifi/s, data sim cards and tablet /gadget that would support the proper implementation of online classes of the university, especially for the senior high school students.
Next, regarding special awards, the Supreme Student Government (SSG) would like to appeal against the waiver as to the conferring of non-academic awards for S.Y. 2019–2020. According to the email sent by your office, “the proposal was made because the committee sees that not all students will be given the chance to participate in the evaluation process. Considering that there would be students and teachers that use pocket WIFI or simply do not have an internet connection at home.” However, there are still options that can be explored for the rightful recognition of students who deserve non-academic awards, such as:
(A) Creating an evaluation form to be sent to the students’ respective advisers and to be forwarded to their parents' contact numbers, subject to the validation of the committee.
(B) Departmental Awards should be decided by the respective subject departments. For example, Awards for Outstanding Performance in Arts, Outstanding Performance in Athletics and Outstanding Performance in Technical-Vocational Education may be in the judgement or decision of PSTHAD Department; Outstanding Performance in Communication Arts and Outstanding Performance in Work Immersion Program (WIP) may be in HUMSS or GAS Departments; and Outstanding Performance in Research / Capstone Project may be in STEM and ABM Departments.
(C) Recommendations of students who had an outstanding performance last school year from their Club Advisers may also be accepted.
The Supreme Student Government (SSG) seeks the immediate response to these concerns before the ongoing proposal for the virtual graduation is resolved, for the students of SY 2019–2020 only deserve to be treated fairly.
Graduation / Class Picture
We have tried contacting the Students Activities Department regarding this. Thankfully, we received a response. According to them, they are still closely coordinating with the Lyric Team, and they will try to give us an update this month of July. In line with this, we demand the administration to at least give us information about the details and the status of such. If possible, the students would like to receive the soft and/or hard copies of their pictures. A lot of students were already fully paid, and their parents have been consistently asking for the output because no official updates have still been received as of now.
The Supreme Student Government (SSG) also calls upon the administration to refund the students’ laboratory fees. This is a significant concern particularly for those strands that did not even make any use of the said facility, as such fees cost ₱4.052.00. The students must stand for the transparency that was promised by the university.
Slow Processing of Credentials and Documents
Students have expressed different levels of dissatisfaction when it comes to processing credentials and documents both online and in school. We personally experience this kind of problem. It takes months before receiving requested documents. Students constantly resort to sending emails and going directly to school just for an update. It is highly probable that students would need these documents as soon as possible as they would like to apply for scholarships and enrollment.
Complaints about the Diploma
Many students who received their diploma were disgruntled and disappointed. Complaints have ranged from visible dirt, marks, and creases on the paper to the low quality of the print. The names of those signed in the diploma were also not included. Why is this?
Unjust Tuition Fee Increase
Although we are graduating students, we are saying this in behalf of those who will enroll this academic year. Imposing a tuition fee increase in the middle of a pandemic will just add to the financial burden of the parents of these students. Moreover, it is frustrating to know that despite the implementation of online classes, students still need to buy books for their education.
ZAIRUSS HAROLD LACORTE
Former Secretary, Supreme Student Government
Student, General Academic Strand (GAS)
MA. SHIELA MAE A. SAAVEDRA
Former Peace Officer, Supreme Student Government
Student, Humanities and Social Sciences Strand (HUMSS)