On Friday 24, September 2021, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities successfully held one of their activities in celebrating the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ “Cannonball” moment that is called the Round Table Discussion for Students.
The Round Table Discussion for Students is designed for the students from AJCU-AP members to voice their ideas, imaginations, efforts, and struggles that they have encountered in moving forward to define their future. It is also an avenue for rectors, deans, and faculty members to listen to the students.
The activity was attended by fourteen different universities around the Asia-Pacific region. Each university sent one group of students as a representative team to deliver their ideas and describe their struggling during the pandemic. They were given seven minutes to explain how they were overcoming the pandemic and answer the three main questions that were proposed by the AJCU-AP committee.
The Round Table Discussion for Students was open with the Ignatian Prayer led by Sumit Choemue from Thailand and continued with opening messages from the AJCU-AP president, Johannes Eka Priyatma. The presentation was divided into two panels with a 10 minutes break. The first panel was from Sophia University Japan, Ateneo De Manila Philippine, Ateneo de Cagayan Philippines, Fu Jen Catholic University Taiwan, Ricci Hall Hong Kong, Xavier Learning Community Thailand, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga Myanmar.
In the second panel was from Sanata Dharma University, Instituto Sao Joao de Brito Timor Leste, Sogang University Korea, Elisabeth University of Music Japan, Ateneo de Davao Philipine, Ateneo de Zamboanga Philippines, and closed by Myanmar Leadership Institute Myanmar.
In the last session of this activity, Angela Dominique who is the moderator from Ateneo de Davao University Philippines closed by giving conclusions and recommendations. Angela concluded that even though the students are facing the challenges during the pandemic such as lack of access to proper electronic devices and also are faced with the off-screen experience in their learning process but they found ways to cope and even grow through personal development and meaningful connections. In line with these conclusions, Angela give several recommendations to all AJCU-AP university presidents forwarded from students’ presentations to meet the students’ needs as well as possible in this new era of learning. Angela proposed three recommendations, the first was aimed at lecturers to maximize visual resources and a variety of new applications to keep students engaged in virtual learning. The second was for AJCU-AP universities to re-envision physical classrooms to be able to accommodate blended learning but it should be an environment that keeps learning conductive while keeping COVID-19 precautionary measures and also each university should formulate a system for students in need of access to proper Internet and electronic devices, as well as assistance in digital literacy. Lastly, it was recommended that all of us as student formators may consider bringing back some onsite activities such as properly planned and well-regulated field excursions that enhance lectures that may continue to be delivered online.