News / Asia

    Philippines Look to Bridge Education Gap

    "Kariton" or pushcart in Filipino is on display at a pushcart classroom orientation in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Caloocan, the poorest municipality in Metro Manila, May 25, 2012. (S. Orendain/VOA)
    "Kariton" or pushcart in Filipino is on display at a pushcart classroom orientation in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Caloocan, the poorest municipality in Metro Manila, May 25, 2012. (S. Orendain/VOA)
    Simone Orendain
    MANILA - In the Philippines, the new school year begins in June and a few dropouts in the Manila area are hoping to be back in a regular classroom by then.  Right now, a pilot program of the national education system is helping them catch up at “pushcart classrooms.”  These mobile classrooms travel to street corners in six of the most impoverished neighborhoods of the metro area, complete with books, supplies, a meal and throngs of volunteers. 
     
    On a street corner in the Novaliches neighborhood just north of Manila, dozens of children are busy with school work shaded by a tarp against a searing sun.  The kids, ages five to 18, read, write, draw and do arithmetic problems as they sit at plastic chairs and tables borrowed from the local town council.
     
    A wooden cart painted in shades of green is near the entrance to the makeshift classroom.  The pushcart- or “kariton” in Filipino- is a cupboard on wheels that typically holds school supplies, books, personal hygiene items and meals.  
     
    “All of them are street children, they are not studying,” said Yolanda Peñalosa, a public school teacher who volunteers at the pushcart. "Volunteers spend two hours each Saturday doing one-on-one lessons with the children who are first assessed to see what level they are in.  The goal is to get them back into a formal classroom. “… because of the reason the father has no work, the parents they are separated.  Problems have been encountered to make them stop.”
     
    While
    Lessons are over and a lunch of rice porridge with chicken and beans is served. Sitting at the 10-year olds' table, volunteer teacher Yolanda Penalosa shows off her student Ericson's quick progress in arithmetic, May 25, 2012. (S. Orendain/VOA)Lessons are over and a lunch of rice porridge with chicken and beans is served. Sitting at the 10-year olds' table, volunteer teacher Yolanda Penalosa shows off her student Ericson's quick progress in arithmetic, May 25, 2012. (S. Orendain/VOA)
    x
    Lessons are over and a lunch of rice porridge with chicken and beans is served. Sitting at the 10-year olds' table, volunteer teacher Yolanda Penalosa shows off her student Ericson's quick progress in arithmetic, May 25, 2012. (S. Orendain/VOA)
    Lessons are over and a lunch of rice porridge with chicken and beans is served. Sitting at the 10-year olds' table, volunteer teacher Yolanda Penalosa shows off her student Ericson's quick progress in arithmetic, May 25, 2012. (S. Orendain/VOA)
     public education is free in the Philippines, school supplies, uniforms and meals are not.  The expenses can exceed some impoverished families’ budgets.
     
    Seven-year old Marvin stopped school when a typhoon washed away his family’s house.  Marvin mostly spends his time playing outside and helping his mother with chores.  He says his father is unemployed.
     
    Marvin says his father’s life is dominated by gambling and alcohol.  Because Marvin was recently in pre-school, his teacher says his chances of going back to regular school in June are strong.

    Efren Peñaflorida created the pushcart classrooms to give any child the ability to go to school. His “Dynamic Teen Company” manages the pushcart program and links needy students with sponsors.
     
    “Kariton classroom is like a sparkplug.  It’s an enticement to entice children to love learning, embrace learning," Peñaflorida stated. "Because we believe if these kids are able to love learning, it will love and embrace them back.”

    By the end of next school year, Philippines Education Secretary Armin Luistro wants at least 10 pushcart classrooms in Manila and later, in other major cities. “It’s all about focusing on the needs of the child, where that child is," noted Luistro. "In this particular case, they have learned how to survive on the streets.  They have learned the liberality and freedom that the street offers and we don’t want to curtail that freedom right away.”
     
    At the Novaliches pushcart classroom, 18-year old Marietoni Candelaria looks to the day that she can be reunited with her five siblings.  They were abandoned years ago and shuttled off to different relatives who could not afford their schooling.  

    Candelaria says being in the pushcart classroom is a big deal.  She is focused on finishing high school, securing a college scholarship and getting a job so she can raise her siblings under one roof.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora