|Education for the Poorest Children through Pantawid Pamilya|
|News Features - Press Releases|
|Written by Azenath Formoso|
|Tuesday, 15 March 2011 05:24|
1,538,592 children beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in different parts of the country are expected to commence the School Year 2010-2011 successfully and level up to the next ladder of learning next school year through the help of the program.
“It is hoped that the program can be an important weapon in empowering the poor and a step forward in the effort to create a base for a movement for “transformative social protection,” one that sees the right to be free of poverty as a basic social right. Education is one of the core ways in attaining this right,” Sec. Dinky Soliman said.
For students and parents who are scarce in monetary and material wealth but are rich in dreams and hopes, enduring another academic year is a milestone achievement. It’s an instinctive belief and deeply imbued in the Filipino consciousness that education is the most effective tool to break free from the chains of poverty. A young girl who hails from a sixth class municipality holds the same cherished value in her heart.
“Education is the key to success,” says Ellen Rose Cabunoc with firm conviction. She is a first year high school student in San Isidro National High School in Patoc, Abra.
Ellen used to walk to school daily with an empty pocket. Her old schoolbag contained her notebooks, recycled from her notebooks during elementary years or made from old calendars. Ellen couldn’t even afford a ballpen so she used a pencil which she said is cheaper.
Statistics from the Department of Education (DepEd) reflect the conditions of many poor students like Ellen. According to DepEd’s research, only 65% of pupils reach sixth grade in the elementary level while only 61% gets a high school diploma in the secondary level.
With her family’s dire condition, Ellen could have been one of the 39% who couldn’t reach the finish line to secondary school. Since their inclusion in Pantawid Pamilya, she is confident that she will get there and so is her class adviser. “She has been performing well in her academics and is also one of the most active students in school activities”, Ellen’s class adviser attested.
The Social Weather Station’s study on Pantawid Pamilya last 2010 show improvements in school attendance -- enrollment rate for beneficiaries 6-14 years old is at 96% and compliance with attendance of school age beneficiaries is at 88%.
The assessment also revealed that more students and parents attend extra-curricular activities, students come to school with better clothing, project materials, and food making them more active in classrooms. It is also noteworthy that Pantawid Pamilya plays a major role in reducing child labor especially in rural areas because many poor parents are now able to send their children to school.
Analyn Simana, a Grade III pupil ranks 3rd place in their class while her sister Aileen Simana, Grade II, ranks 1st place. Rizza May also tops the class of Grade IV. The siblings Agnes and Arsenio Raymundo Jr. rank 1st and 2nd place, respectively. They are only some of the children beneficiaries in Brgy. Tibag, Talugtug, Nueva Ecija, who have significantly improved and excelled in their academic performance with the help of the program.
Through the cash assistance they get from Pantawid Pamilya, the children are provided with allowance for their food and transportation. They also feel more dignified with their new uniform, which they proudly wear especially when they are sent to other schools for competition. “Before, we have no choice but to use our old and tattered uniform during inter-school competitions. Other schools would laugh at us”, a teary-eyed Rizza recalled. “I am grateful for Pantawid Pamilya for helping our mothers buy our school needs,” she added.
Analyn dreams of becoming a nurse, Aileen, Rizza May and Agnes, aspires to become a teacher. They are hopeful that through Pantawid Pamilya coupled with consistent hardwork, they will be able to attain their dreams for themselves, and especially, for their families.
Pantawid Pamilya is a poverty reduction and social development program of the Philippine government that provides cash grants to extremely poor households to allow them to meet certain human development goals through compliance with their co-responsibilities in health, education and parenting.