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)
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs