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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid