Leyte student works on farm to buy phone for online classes

Wading in mud and enduring the sun’s scorching heat were among the travails an aspiring accountant had to deal with to buy a smartphone for him to get connected for distance learning.


It took nearly three months for Rocky Bultron, 20, of Villa Rosas village here to raise about PHP5,400 to own a smartphone for the first time to catch up with the digital transformation in learning during the health crisis.


Since May this year, Bultron had to walk more than a kilometer in some weekdays, crossing at least eight rivers and streams to work in a coconut farm and fish pond in nearby Tambis village. For him, every step gets closer to his dream of lifting himself out of poverty.


Currently, he is a freshman accounting student of the Burauen Community College, a new higher learning institution set up by the local government and private partners for poor and dedicated students.


“For me, every drop of sweat is a drop of success. I’ve been through a lot of hardships in life since I was a kid. These experiences pushed me to aim high so I won’t be poor in the future,” Bultron told the Philippine News Agency Thursday.


He was a toddler when his parents separated, forcing her mother to return to Leyte from Manila, passing the responsibility of raising Bultron and his brother to his aging and impoverished grandparents, who both died last year.


The difficulties faced by poor rural learners prompted his older brother to drop from school two years ago and work as a full-time farm laborer.


Her mother has been employed as a household worker overseas, earning only PHP15,000 monthly, not enough to support all the basic needs of five children from two failed relationships.


“I was aware that my mother’s income cannot buy me a new phone this academic year. I have to find ways to raise money on my own. I asked some farm owners to hire me as a laborer,” said Bultron, who earned about PHP200 for every day-long hard labor.


After spending a minimal amount for food, he kept all his savings in a tiny box inside their makeshift house until it reached PHP5,400, just enough to buy a new smartphone on August 22, two weeks after the start of their class.


“With this phone, I am now updated on what’s going on in our class, watch online tutorials on related topics so I can easily answer and complete all study activities for the week,” Bultron said.


The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said the coronavirus disease pandemic drastically changed the landscape of education, challenging educational institutions to adopt a flexible learning management system that will cater to the needs of its diverse learners.


Earlier, the CHED field office in Eastern Visayas has asked state universities and colleges to help enhance and sustain the continuous delivery of quality higher education despite different challenges that might disrupt the learning environment.


Source: Philippines News Agency

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