Dismal internet connection: the bane of education

(first of two parts)

Internet connection in the Philippines has been lagging behind its Asian and intercontinental peers ever since the online world first opened its arms to everyone in the world. Though the Philippines is not necessarily at the bottom of the heap, the fact that it has one of the most dismal internet connections, not to mention download speeds and internet traffic, can be compared to the maximum number of years a tortoise could live. As a result, not a few are disgruntled over major telecommunications companies’ glaring ignorance of the everyday Calvary-like occurrence called dismal internet connection.

To add insult to injury, our country has one of the most exorbitant internet subscriptions in the world today. Subscribing to a major telecommunications company (which offers wireless internet, of course) is eventually akin to purchasing a fleet of Rolls Royce limousines or Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans in the long run. We still experience poor customer service, intermittent lags especially during inclement weather, erratic internet connection, and a host of other inconveniences that poor internet connection brings about.

One of the reasons why our country is suffering from long-standing poor internet connection is that there is excess red tape and bureaucracy. We can never dismiss the fact that our government agencies that are supposed to be responsible for streamlining processes on how to obtain necessary permits and then establish cellular towers are either clumsily amiss or downright mammon-obsessed. Our rage over this horrendous practice is indeed ineffable. A second reason why poor internet connection exists is that the big three of the telecommunications industry are lording over us paying subscribers and dictate the prices of various internet subscription plans. They deliver poorly when it comes to service but they are undoubtedly adept at cutting off our connections once due dates approach. Third, poor internet connection happens because the rapacious triumvirate never exerts much effort into adopting and adapting to the latest in internet and technology, therefore rendering us helpless and listless. Fourth, we have our country’s archipelagic topography to blame (not totally) for the limitations of technology in terms of connectivity. If only the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Department of Education, and other related agencies would get off their high horses along with the telecommunications triumvirate, they could invest billions and billions in research and development for a more affordable and accessible internet.

How does poor internet connection occur among us educators and among our learners as well?

First, students are being wrongly assessed and evaluated by their teachers, not knowing that the former experience lagging internet connection. This is so painful to learn and hear about, because there are very inflexible teachers online who impose deadlines and barely leave room for flexibility.

Second, teachers are not able to deliver their lessons synchronously; though there is also asynchronous learning and also other types of learning, the fact that human interaction (albeit virtual for now) is needed by both educators like us and students such as ours. Moreover, we teachers stand for being present (and enthusiastically present, that is) in classes so that we could be able to guide our students and mentor them while making them feel our presence.

Third, students are not able to conduct research and to interact with their peers as needed, and so they have to resort to climbing trees, scouring fields, and even trekking mountains just to capture strong signals. And that, my friends, is a strong signal of our telecommunications companies’ glaring incompetence and lackadaisical attitude towards us ever-disciplined and faithfully paying subscribers.

Fourth, other educational services would not be given to our learners since internet connection is concomitant with how our governmental agencies and telecommunications companies cooperate to build a very efficient, speedy internet expressway (and we do know how hard they work, so there is no need for much guesswork). Though telecommunications titans are raking in billions in profits, the ever-pervasive poor internet connection problem presents a huge domino effect and thus, the consequences are grave and inescapable, especially (and most especially) for them.

My dear fellow educators, what can we do now to help to solve the labyrinthine problem called dismal and erratic internet connection?
Please watch out for the second part of this article as I will be posting all your comments and best practices on how to cope with (and eventually solve) the ever-pervasive internet issue.#