top of page

Back-to-school claim misuses 2017 Chinese seniors photo

2017 photo of Chinese seniors attending college misused in a Facebook post that Filipinos are back in school after COVID-19 lockdown

A 3-year-old photo of elderly students in China has been misused by a Facebook user to claim that college students are back in school after the coronavirus outbreak.

Although the caption is in Filipino, it was not clear what country it was referring to.

The photo, which first appeared May 23, 2017 in a Global Times article about the increasing number of senior citizens enrolling in college courses in China, was misappropriated by the Facebook user, a college instructor from Pangasinan according to his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

The photo shows Chinese seniors sitting in class at the Linghai University for the Elderly in Guangzhou City in South China’s Guangdong province. Its EXIF data, or information about digital image files, indicate it was taken March 2, 2017 by Run Tu for Imaginechina, a leading Chinese photo agency.

The caption for the misleading post reads:

College students, nakabalik na sa pag-aaral matapos ang COVID-19 outbreak (College students get back to their studies after the COVID-19 outbreak)

It falsely claimed the outbreak is over even when the World Health Organization has not declared the end of the pandemic.

WHO declared the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30 and a pandemic on March 11.

If the Facebook user were referring to the Philippines, the Commission on Higher Education, in Advisory No. 6 issued April 13, prohibited higher education institutions (HEIs) from holding face-to-face classes under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified ECQ, which is set to end May 31 in selected high-risk areas, including Metro Manila.

CHEd Chairman Prospero de Vera said a “rolling opening” of classes will be observed for the coming schoolyear: Private HEIs that can provide flexible and alternative modes of learning may open in August while those that can’t may start face-to-face classes in September.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced May 28 that Metro Manila will be placed under the general community quarantine from June 1 to 15, which allows skeletal workforce in school premises to process requirements for next semester or graduation.

If the Facebook post were referring to China, the reopening of schools there is progressive, according to the UNESCO global data. Some regions have resumed classes for senior students in high school and secondary vocational schools while most schools in larger regions remain closed.

As of May 29, the post has generated 9,170 reactions, 1,100 comments and 18,000 shares. (NRH)


Agence France-Presse. (n.d.). ImagineChina. Retrieved, from

Commission on Higher Education. (2020, April 13). Guidelines for the prevention, control and mitigation of the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in higher education institutions (HEIs) (CHEd COVID Advisory No. 6). Retrieved from

ECQ and GCQ Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. (2020). Resolution No. 38 (Series of 2020). Retrieved from

Mike Stephen Pulicay. (n.d.). Home [LinkedIn page]. Retrieved from

Millions more seniors studying at colleges for older students. (2017, May 23). Global Times. Retrieved from

Pulicay, M. (2020, May 27). Sa wakas!! [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from

Run tu - ImagineChina. (2017, May 23). 老人学生们,上课还是很认真的。活到老学到老.jpg [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Samrahnadeem. (2019, November 1). Schools for old person. Retrieved from

UNESCO. (n.d.). COVID-19 educational disruption and response. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2020, May 25). Rolling updates on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Retrieved from


bottom of page