Pook Aralan in Bato Leyte is now open for all UP students

In aid of students seriously affected by Typhoon Odette in December 2021, the University of the Philippines (UP) launched the first Pook Aralan under the Tabang sa Iskolar ng Bayan program.

At least 12 students, all of the UP Manila School of Health Sciences (UPM-SHS), are the initial beneficiaries of the learning hub in the town of Bato, Leyte. The Pook, located at Brgy. Alejos Bato, Leyte, provides free internet access, computer use, WIFI, a charging station for gadgets, and printing services to all UP students within the area from March 2022 to July 2022.

UP students come in to take full advantage of the Pook Aralan facility. Photo by the UP OSDS.

The project aims to set a template of action for setting up learning hubs off campus whenever calamities seriously affect students who are now studying in a blended learning mode. The Office of Student Development Services (OSDS), formerly the Office of Student Financial Assistance, administers the project, in partnership with the UP Padayon Public Service Office (PPSO), the UP System Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, the concerned units of UP constituent universities, and owners of the chosen sites.

“We launched the Tabang Para sa Iskolar ng Bayan, a UP System-wide resource generation campaign, for our students affected by Typhoon Odette, in January,” PPSO Director Jeanette Yasol-Naval said during the online launching ceremony on March 14, 2022. “The need for learning hubs was the first in the identified needs and concerns. Many of our students had lost their houses, equipment, connectivity, and other tools necessary for them to continue remote learning in the coming second semester,” Yasol-Naval added.

UP Padayon Public Service Office Director Jeanette Yasol-Naval gives an overview of the Tabang Para sa Iskolar ng Bayan Project. Screenshot of the virtual launch of the Student Learning Hub, “Pook Aralan sa Bato, Leyte,” held on March 14, 2022.

“The Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs, through UP Padayon, started reaching out once again to the generosity of our alumni, our friends, and our partners,” she said. “We flipped through our past campaigns and requested the pooling of excesses from the previous campaigns. Soon enough, Tabang Para sa Iskolar ng Bayan was able to commit support for the initial establishment of these learning hubs.”

UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and OSDS Director Richard Philip Gonzalo hosted the launching ceremony. It was also attended by: Pahinungod System Director Marie Therese Bustos, UPM-SHS Dean Filedito Tandinco, and the Bato, Leyte establishment owner, Marissa Rojas. Beneficiary students who were right at the learning hub were present. According to AVP Gonzalo, Director Bustos, and Dean Tandinco, the units of Pahinungod, UP Manila, and the UPM-SHS played prominent roles in looking for partners who could provide locations for the learning hubs. They also identify target beneficiaries and their needs and activities requiring assistance, providing project administration and monitoring.

UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Office of Student Development Services Director Richard Philip Gonzalo hosted the Pook Aralan Learning Hub launching event. Screenshot of the virtual launch of the Student Learning Hub, “Pook Aralan sa Bato, Leyte,” held on March 14, 2022.

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Philip Gonzalo said UP aims to build resilience in reaching out to and assisting students during pandemics and natural disasters. Pook Aralan would minimize disruptions in delivering remote learning assistance to students, provided under Kaagapay sa Pag-aaral ng Iskolar ng Bayan and adopt-a-student programs.

“These are steps for us to reach out further to our students and ensure that we have a healthy and nurturing environment for our students,” Gonzalo said.

For inquiries about Pook Aralan in Bato, Leyte, kindly contact studentwelfare.osds@up.edu.ph or Ms. Marissa Rojas at 09125710943.

The Learning Hub partners: Ms. Marrissa Rojas, owner of Britts Internet Shop in Bato Leyte (center); UPM SHS Dean Filedito Tandinco (2nd from right); Prof. Ace Geteros (extreme right); and local government employees of Bato Leyte. Photo by the UP OSDS.