The search of the 82-year old executive for her high school teacher whom she has not had a chance to say her thank you for the inspired mentoring ended on a happy note with the teacher vividly remembering her dear student despite an advanced age of 91.
Publishing executive Teresa Alvina said she was elated to learn from Department of Education staff that Mrs. Carmen Geronimo-Pascual is still up and about and yes… healthy with a memory sharp enough to remember her home economics student at V. Mapa High School in Manila.
Earlier, Alvina wrote to Education Secretary Armin Luistro asking for assistance in finding her teacher whom she has not heard of after high school graduation 63 years ago.
“For me, it is very important to be able to say thank you now. I regret that I never even bothered to get in touch with her despite the fact that we are both Quezon City residents,” shared Alvina.
The good news ending her search was relayed to Alvina by the Office of DepEd National Capital Region who alerted its personnel to find Mrs. Pascual upon the instruction of the education chief.
DepEd is in the thick of the celebration of Teachers’ Month this September which culminates on October 5 for the World Teachers’ Day.
Years before the DepEd started to propagate the idea of expressing gratitude to teachers, Alvina said she had already embarked on a personal solitary mission to locate Ms. Carmen Geronimo.
The reunion finally came to fruition last weekend over lunch hosted by the teacher at her residence. Alvina and Pascual relived the years long gone by over food and laughter.
“I am so happy, I searched and I found. Now I have more happy memories to get me through the years ahead,” Alvina expressed.
Indeed, there is a bond that the years cannot severe or memories that long absence cannot blur. Such is the bond of teacher Carmen and student Teresa.
The Department of Education has allotted someP21 million this year to finance various intervention programs that will enable every child to read at his grade level which is a very important foundation of learning.
The program called Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP) was designed to equip elementary pupils in public schools with strategic reading and writing skills to make them independent young readers and writers.
ECARP is included in the ten-point education agenda of President Aquino to ensure that the country’s public schools produce graduates who are equipped for further learning.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said ECARP also provides an assessment tool that will help schools determine the children’s reading level as well as the reading profile of the division, regional and national levels.
“We are implementing the ECARP through three components namely Reading Recovery (RR), Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI) and Philippine Word List in English (PWLE) to ensure a comprehensive approach to child learning,” added Luistro.
Support fund for RR will go to Regions I, III, IV-Calabarzon, V, VI, XI, the National Capital Region, and the Cordillera Administrative Region to augment expenses for the implementation of RR.
RR is an early intervention provided to children who are beginning to fall behind in reading and writing to give them a chance to catch up by providing them specialized one-to-one reading assistance from a teacher trained in RR procedures.
The RR fund will be used to set up Regional Reading Recovery Centers following international guidelines as well as for teachers training including supplies and teaching materials.
Allotment will also go to the development of PWLE which also include the inventory of frequently used words in English textbooks, the field validation of word lists as well as its finalization. “Its aim is to standardize its use in the Philippine context and be used as a tool in building and assessing vocabulary development,” Luistro explained.
Meanwhile, Phil-IRI, which will also get a share from the fund, is a nationally-validated assessment tool of ECARP to measure the reading proficiency level in both English and Filipino languages of public elementary pupils. Data gathered from the assessment serve as a basis for designing appropriate intervention at the school, division, regional and national levels.
The Department of Education has released some P330 million in producing science equipment which was delivered to 435 public secondary high schools nationwide to improve the students’ learning and appreciation of science concepts and its applications.
Following this, DepEd through its National Science Teaching and Instrumentation Center (NSTIC) will hold a national consultative conference on the use of science equipment in Cebu City to prepare teachers on the proper handling and maintenance of these equipment.
Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro said the NSTIC together with Regional Science Supervisors and BSE representatives will review and finalize the experiment and repair and maintenance manuals which will be used for the subsequent regional training workshops which is set to start in October to cover the country’s 17 regions. NSTIC and the NSTIC- trained regional trainors will train one science teacher per science subject area (Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) in each recipient school.
“The training is very important for the science teachers to master the use and application of the new science equipment as well as the maintenance procedures to ensure long-term use of these equipment,” Luistro added.
A stronger science and technology curriculum in basic education is in the ten-point education agenda of President Aquino aimed at producing graduates who are geared towards a science and technology-driven economy.
Related to this, DepEd has added 100 new special science elementary schools this year, bringing to 200 the total number of elementary schools offering a specialized curriculum focused on the sciences.
“The marching order is for us to continue to find ways to develop a new generation of science and technology-savvy graduates who will bring us to new levels of economic progress,” explained Luistro.
The list of equipment, instruments and science learning tools include:
For Integrated Science : Aneroid Barometer, Assorted Glassware, Triple Beam Balance, Terrestrial Globe, Seismograph Model, Anemometer with Wind Vane, Magnetic Compass, Connecting Wires, Magnets, Alcohol Burner, Ring and Ball Apparatus, Various Conductor and non-conductor materials, Sun-Earth-Moon Model, Constellarium, Hydrometer, Rock Samples, Astronomical Telescope and Alcohol Thermometer, Maps, Map of World Climates, Map of Philippine Climates, Map of Philippine Volcanoes, Map of Starts, Posters, Layers of the Earth, The Richter Magnitude Scale and various consumables.
For Biology: Compound Microscope, Dissecting Set, Human Torso Model, Human Skeleton Model, Animal Mitosis Model, Assorted Glassware, Alcohol Thermometer, Triple Beam Balance, Cork Borers, Glass Slides, Assorted Chemicals and Consumables, Alcohol Burner and Safety Glasses and Home Gloves, Charts, Plant Cell, Animal Cell, Development of an Embryo, Mendel’s Law, Gene Map of Human Chromosomes, Food Pyramid, and Flower and Seed Structure.
For Chemistry : Alcohol Thermometer, Assorted Glassware, Electrolysis Apparatus, Cork Borers, Reagent Bottles, Triple Beam Balance, Alcohol Burner, Calorimeter, Burette, Pipette, Bunsen Burner, LGP Tank with gas, Osmosis Apparatus, Conductivity Apparatus, Condenser, pH Meter, Safety Glasses and Hand Gloves, Assorted Chemicals and Consumables, Charts and Cabinets for Corrosive Materials, Periodic Table of Elements, Laboratory Safety Rules, Basic Laboratory Apparatus.
For Physics : Archimedes Principle Apparatus, Open U-tube Manometer, Air Blower, Light Bulb and Dry Cell, Set of Connectors, Resistance Box, Introduction to Ratio-activity Kit, Switches, DC Ammeter, DC Voltmeter, Galvanometer, Set of Coils, Motor-Generator Model, Set of Hard Tools, Advanced Electromagnetism Kit, Graphing Calculator, Basic Electronics Kits, Fuse with Holder, Variable Power Supply, Turning Fork Set, Resonance Tube Set, Sound Signal Generator Kit, Loud Speaker, Wave Demonstration Set, DC String Vibrator, Musical Instrument, Basic Lens Set, Prism, Refraction Blocks, Refraction Tank, Student Optical Bench Set, Multimeter, Logic Gates Trainer and Assorted Glassware and Consumables Chart, Electromagnetic Spectrum and Radioactive Elements.
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The country’s 276 recognized Special Education Centers continue to receive subsidy from the Department of Education to enable these schools to deliver quality educational services to children with special learning needs.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said DepEd is now on its third year of providing financial subsidy to SPED Centers, with this year’s funding amounting to P115 million. “The amount we are providing to each SPED Center is proportionate to the number of enrollees and the exceptionalities being served in a particular center.”
Luistro added that DepEd has set aside a specific allocation on the kind of intervention/activity where the subsidy will be used.
Thirty percent (30%) will be set aside for pupil development activities, training, educational visits, camp activities, sports and pupil participation in SPED-related activities.
Moreover, DepEd will earmark 25% for the procurement of assistive technology devices like Perkins Brailler, Braille display, speech synthesizer, canes, magnifiers, writing slate and stylus, abacus, Job Access with Speech program (JAWS), computer, sports, musical instruments, speech trainer, vestibular balls, sensory integration materials, early stimulation devices, adapted PE apparatuses, sewing machines, stove, cooking wares and carpentry tools for the work centers/transition program.
Another 25% is for the procurement of instructional and reference materials, psychological tests, early intervention materials and science manipulative materials.
The remaining 20% is for the professional upgrading of teachers and school heads and travel expenses relative to their participation/attendance to activities relevant to the implementation of the program, training of classroom parent aides, availment of services of allied personnel such as psychologists, occupational, physical, speech and behavioral therapists.
“These efforts are geared towards creating an environment for inclusive education. It also aims to open all the avenues of learning to all kinds of learners,” Luistro explained.
The Philippines, through the Department of Education, is one of the signatories to the United Nations-initiated Millennium Development Goals having universal education by 2015 as one of the goals.
The Department of Education through the National Education Testing and Research Center announces that the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) will be held on November 20, 2011 for Luzon and on November 27, 2011 for Visayas and Mindanao.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the PEPT aims to retrieve out-of-school youth and place them in the formal school system if they so desire. “ Through PEPT, we would also like to validate and accredit knowledge and skills in academic areas gained through informal and non-formal means. In the end, PEPT will pave the way for their re-entry into formal schooling, job promotion, job training and employment,” added Luistro.
PEPT targets Filipino citizens who are dropouts from elementary and secondary schools for at least one year. It is also for those who never attended a formal school but can read and write, or those presently employed but need to upgrade their academic level whether elementary or high school. Moreover, applicants must be at least one year overage for their supposed grade/year level in the formal school system.
Applicants must bring their birth certificate issued by the NSO or Local Civil Registrar duly authenticated (original and 2 photo-copies), 2 pieces ID picture and recently taken (size 1”x1”) and school record — original and 2 photocopies – of Form 137 (Transcript of Records with school seal and signature of principal/registrar) or Form 138 (Report Card with school seal and signature of principal/registrar) for elementary level and Form 137 for secondary.
PEPT takers will pay P50 for the regular test given every November in designated testing centers all over the country or P200 for walk-in or special administration which is conducted from January to June at DepEd- NETRC in Pasig City.
For elementary level, the test coverage is Science, Mathematics, HeKaSi (Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika), Filipino and English. In the secondary level, the exam for first year covers General Science, Elementary Algebra, Philippine History (Kasaysayan at Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas), English I and Filipino I; for second year, the coverage include Biology, Intermediate Algebra, Asian History (Kasaysayan ng mga Bansang Asyano), English II and Filipino II; for third year, the subjects covered are Chemistry, Geometry, World History (Kasaysayan ng Daigdig), English III and Filipino III; for fourth year, the exam will touch on Physics, Advance Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Economics, English IV and Filipino IV.
The PEPT can also be administered to individuals with visual impairment whether Braille or non-Braille readers.
An 82 year-old executive of a publishing company has sought the assistance of Education Secretary Armin Luistro in finding her former high school Home Economic teacher to say: “maraming salamat po sa inyo.”
In her letter, Miss Teresa Alvina said she believes that Luistro has the means and the authority to help her in her quest. “Time is of the essence. I am now 82 and a 1948 graduate of V. Mapa High School. The act of thanking my former teacher Mrs. Carmen Geronimo-Pascual stands to be realized, 63 years belatedly,” Alvina added.
Alvina’s search predates the campaign of the Department of Education to say thank you to teachers who have made a positive influence in their students’ lives and in society in general. September is National Teachers’ Month and the celebration will culminate in October 5. Years before the DepEd started to propagate the idea of expressing gratitude to teachers, Alvina had already embarked on a personal solitary mission to locate Ms. Carmen Geronimo.
“My regret is that I did not really exert that much effort to get in touch with her when I was younger and not at this time when my search is limited by my own age. Hindi naman ako umalis sa Manila pero ni hindi ko siya nagawang kumustahin man lang,” she lamented.
Describing herself as an ordinary student and her teacher as an ordinary teacher, she is nevertheless moved by the spirit to search for her to personally convey her thanks. “Maybe all I want is closure. I want to know what happened to her even from her family, friends or co-teachers.”
Alvina said she has already tried many avenues of search including a visit to the school and talk with the current principal, even digging into Geronimo’s NSO, GSIS and service records. “But all ended up in a dead-end,” she wrote.
She continued: “Why does this seem so urgent a small matter about which now to bother the Secretary of Education himself?” she asked in her letter.
“For me, it is very important to be able to say thank you now,” she emphasized.
Alvina learned that Geronimo has retired from service in 1980. “Any information that will lead me to her will be much appreciated,” she said.
The country’s biggest umbrella organization of mining companies signs today a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education to help bridge educational resource gaps in public schools.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that after the MOU, individual member-companies of Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) will sign with DepEd separate memorandum of agreements detailing the kind of assistance they will extend to public schools.
“This is a welcome development as we need all the help that we could muster to make quality education really accessible to as many Filipinos,” added Luistro.
CMP president Benjamin Philip Romualdez said that CMP already has 14 member companies that have been extending assistance for various projects that benefit kindergarten, elementary and high school since 2000.
“Our member companies in the minerals development industry have been supporting education initiatives under the industry’s Social Development and Management Plan (SDMP) as well as corporate social responsibility program,” Romualdez explained.
In view of this, Deped and CMP agreed to launch the “Minahan para sa Karunungan at Kinabukasan” campaign to encourage corporate and individual members of CMP as well as their business partners to contribute any form of assistance to DepEd’s programs and projects.
It also seeks to persuade the CMP member-companies to include in the campaign all the SDMP-initiated projects that support kindergarten up to high school students in areas where they operate.
The beneficiaries of CMP’s assistance will be coursed through DepEd. The final choices of public school beneficiaries shall be coordinated with DepEd.
“We will take into consideration the priority needs of the school and it could be power, learning tools, infrastructure, security, etc,” said Luistro.
“Deliver quality books to public schools in the remotest barangays on time and make sure these are used by the pupils.”
This is the objective of the National Textbook Delivery Program (Textbook Count) and the Textbook Walk Program jointly initiated by the Department of Education’s Instructional Materials Council Secretariat (IMCS) and the civil society groups led by the Ateneo School of Government’s G-Watch.
Textbook Count is a joint government-civil society monitoring program that aims to ensure that the right quality and quantity of textbooks are received by the right beneficiaries at the right time.
The Textbook Walk is a synchronized school- and community-based activity where volunteers from the different sectors of society work together with DepEd personnel in bringing textbooks and other instructional materials from the school districts to the recipient elementary and high schools.
“Our goal here is 100% delivery in exact quantities of textbooks and teachers’ manuals to the recipient schools within the agreed delivery period,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
Part of the task of Textbook Count is to ensure that the physical quality of the instructional materials being produced is in accordance with the standards set by DepEd.
Luistro added that one of the features of the program is the inclusion of a feedback mechanism so that issues and concerns concerning production, delivery and usage of textbooks are addressed immediately.
A critical role being played by the civil society groups in this program is that their volunteers are active participants who observe intently the deliveries to public schools and assist the schools in conducting random inspection and counting of the delivered textbooks.
“If we want to improve the quality of education, if we want transparency and accountability, this is a good chance for all education stakeholders to share their time, effort and resources so that issues concerning textbooks are addressed in a systematic and comprehensive manner,” Luistro explained.
The program was started in 2003 and was initially participated in by Ateneo’s G-Watch and 7 other civil society organizations (CSOs). By 2008-2009, over 40 CSOs have joined the campaign that requires multi-stakeholder partnership and coordination.
Aside from G-Watch, some of the members of the Consortium of Textbook Count CSOs which signified their commitment to Textbook Count are the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, CODE-NGO, E-Net, PSLink, PTA, Transparency and Accountability Network, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, AVE and the Ateneo-initiated checkmyschool.org.
The program was considered a success and was cited by the World Bank as one of the good practices in governance that enhances transparency and accountability through citizen-government engagement.
Meanwhile, Ms. Joy Aceron of G-Watch said the challenge now for Textbook Count is to sustain the participation of community stakeholders and to ensure the transparency of the process and the accountability of the people involved in the program.
She added that the goal of Textbook Count 2011 is to come up with a more deliberate effort towards sustainability, both state-based and societal-based which may include crafting a working policy that supports a decentralized and school-based monitoring.
The Department of Education will soon come out with a more comprehensive child protection policy to shield the child against abuse, exploitation and discrimination including bullying and other forms of violence against children in school.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said school personnel and the public in general must be reminded that corporal punishment and violence in any form is not allowed in public schools whether committed by adults or the children’s peers.
“We reiterate that school personnel who commit such acts are violating the provisions of Batas Pambansa 232 and that they can be held criminally liable including dismissal from the service,” added Luistro.
On the other hand, Republic Act 7610 listed down acts that constitute child abuse and are therefore considered a criminal offense. This includes psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment. Also included is any act by deeds or words which debase, degrade or demean the worth and dignity of a child; unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival such as food and shelter; as well as failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting to serious impairment of his growth, permanent incapacity or death.
In view of this, DepEd as early as 2006 issued DepEd Memo 297 Prohibiting Acts Constituting Violations of RA 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and the Family Code to set a limit on the substitute parental authority being exercised by some DepEd authorities.
The order specified that substitute parental authority can only be exercised within the school premises and it shall be exercised only to protect and promote the physical, mental and moral well-being of the students
To further strengthen the campaign against child abuse in school, DepEd is developing a more comprehensive policy in consultation with teachers and other stakeholders.
“This is a serious matter that we cannot put off nor delay because it involves the over-all well being of our learners which when not addressed promptly may negatively affect them for life,” said Luistro.
The proposed policy will cover measures to prevent abuses against children in the school and the processes to be observed when abuses are committed. It will also include the procedures to follow and possible referral to other concerned agencies.
Meanwhile, DepEd expresses its supports to the anti-bullying bill of Senator Antonio Trillanes which seeks to institutionalize its teaching in schools and the creation of public awareness on its ill-effects on child development. This is consistent with the mandate of DepEd which puts premium on child safety in schools while providing an environment conducive to learning.
DepEd also believes that addressing the issue on bullying in school cannot be simply addressed by dismissing or suspending the offending child because it requires a more thorough approach that involves both the school and the parents to be able to get to the root of why a child resorts to bullying. Oftentimes, bullying is a manifestation of problems that stem at home.
The number of public schools that breed future Filipino scientists has now reached 200 nationwide, with the addition this school year of 100 new schools that offer specialized curriculum focused on the sciences.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the 100 new special science elementary schools (SSES) consist of Special Education (SPED) Centers with programs for the gifted and the talented and selected regular schools which passed the SSES screening procedures.
“We feel that it is time to add more science-oriented schools in addition to the first SSES in 2007 which was composed of 57 schools and another 43 in 2009 because we need to train more scientists to support national development,” added Luistro.
The stronger focus on science education is included in the ten-point education agenda of President Aquino.
“We support the vision of the president to strengthen science education because a strong foundation in the sciences is one of the building blocks of a progressive economy,” Luistro explained.
SSES is a project of DepEd designed to develop Filipino children who are equipped with scientific and technological knowledge and skills plus creative and positive values that will make them catalysts in spurring research and development thrusts.
SSES provides enriched curriculum for Mathematics and Science where gifted and talented learners are provided a venue and exposure to develop their aptitude and skills.
Teachers in SSES are equally trained to measure up to the expectations of teaching specialized courses in math and the sciences and must be committed to the vision of fully developing the scientific minds of young learners.
SSES are appropriately-equipped with laboratory rooms, science apparatuses and equipment, ICT-based learning resources as well as Science, Math, English textbooks and supplementary materials.
“We also provide our students in the special science program academic and co-curricular opportunities to reach their full potential, thus, they join science camps, investigatory projects, academic competitions as well as networking with other science-oriented schools both locally and within the ASEAN region.”
The SSES curriculum provides longer instruction time in Science. For Grades 1 to 3, instruction time is 70 minutes. For Grades 4 to 6, it is 80 minutes. The school head/teacher may further enrich the curriculum if they feel it is necessary to address the needs of the pupils.
The first batch of SSES pupils who have a complete science education from Grade 1 to 6 will graduate in school year 2012-2013. SSES are the feeder school for science-oriented high schools strategically located nationwide.