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Online Learning Suicides: After Bicol Teenager, Girl From India Also Kills Self

But the Dep Ed said it would implement “blended” learning.
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An Albay student died by suicide last week reportedly because he was stressed about expenses related to online learning. 

The body of the incoming Grade 9 student was discovered by his brother in a small hut near ther home last June 16 in Brgy. Fidel Surtida in Sto. Domingo, Albay, according to the Manila Bulletin.

The victim’s mother had said in a radio interview that her son had complained about the expenses for online classes, including network loads and internet fees.

The Department of Education’s Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad issued a statement the day after.

“We have been informed this morning that a learner of Sto. Domingo National High School died in a small hut near their home in Barangay Fidel Surtida on June 16, 2020 allegedly because he was distressed by the “online classes.” His body was found by his brother at around 5 a.m. on that day,” Sadsad said.

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On Wednesday, June 24, another student also died by suicide reportedly because of similar pressures related to online learning.

A 12-year-old student from Rajkot, in the state of Gujarat in India died on Monday, June 22, reportedly because she was fed up with online learning and homework submission and that she was unable to meet up with her classmates, according to the Indian publication Ahmedabad Mirror.

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The publication quoted police sources who said the fatality’s mother had asked her to complete the homework assigned by the school, which she apparently did not like. The victim replied that she was just going to take a bath but after her mother checked in on her, she was already dead in the bathroom.

According to the report, the victim’s father recently bought her her first cellphone even though he was “out of business” because of the pandemic and was having financial difficulties. Police said the father got the cellphone so she would be comfortable studying.

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Here in the Philippines, the Dep Ed has insisted that parents do not need to buy gadgets for their children for online learning. These gadgets are not required as the agency said it is planning to implement other measures when classes restart on August 24.

Blended or distance learning involves online learning resources that will be delivered through an online portal called “DepEd Commons,” or through television or radio.

But for students without any access to technology, the DepEd has said it would provide printed or digital modules that will be delivered to the homes of the students, or picked up by the parents themselves at designated places.

The DepEd also denounced people who spread malicious “half-truths” related to the Albay student’s sucide, saying it takes exception to those who “concoct opportunistic and insensitive half-truth statements about the learner’s demise to forward their agenda of demonizing the Department’s commitment to provide learning opportunities amidst the pandemic.”

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Their “hasty and generalized statement is irresponsible and misleading for it tarnishes the memory of the dead and insults the family, while misinforming the public of the set-up of the upcoming school year,” the DepEd added. 

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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