The Good Practices of “Assuring the Child the Right Education

The Good Practices of “Assuring the Child the Right Education

Shirley G. Hampac, D. R. Dev.
May 14, 2021

For Liezl, “education is a passport to better life and ACRE gave me this access.” A typical child from a poor family living in a squatter area, Liezl is now a proud teacher. She grew up with her grandmother only without a father nor a mother to look after her. While in high school, she earned extra amount, as a part time nanny to a neighbor’s baby when she came home from school. She joined 4-H club for additional amount in her schooling by segregating solid wastes as part of the club’s mission.

Because Liezl is a believer of the idea that life is a cycle, she worked hard and went to school through the educational assistance provided by the JBLFMU-Arevalo’s “Assuring a Child the Right Education” (ACRE) program. The assistance and services of ACRE inspired her to study well and helped her develop the self-confidence she needed and eventually became a child leader. Her dedication to her studies and the guidance from ACRE have brought her to where she is now. Being a teacher, she now molds and inspires young minds to be passionate about education that someday they will be the next group of active contributors in nation building.

Education saves one from being trapped in poverty and hardships. With this purpose, the program has strived to be sustainable, efficient, relevant and has the participation of the stakeholders. The program is considered sustainable because of the support of internal and external stakeholders. It is likewise efficient since only one or two personnel are able to implement, monitor and evaluate the program. Stakeholders’ participation both from within and outside is very evident since in countless services teachers and students are always mobilized as facilitators. ACRE has won the hearts of ERDA Foundation in 2013 to help fund some educational needs of these assisted youths and kids. The relevance of the program is manifested through the research-based data collected in 2011.

ACRE stands for Assuring the Child the Right Education Program. This program helps children develop their potential by sending them back to school and is being implemented in Baragays Sto. Nino Sur and Sto. Nino Norte in Arevalo District of Iloilo City. It has already inspired hundreds of children after they have been given access to education where many are now full-fledged professionals happily serving the community through their chosen careers.

It started in 2012 when a paradigm shifted in the Community Extension Services program of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University-Arevalo. The change was noted when more premiums were given to the child sector. Since then, qualified children for the assistance are given school supplies, school uniforms and miscellaneous fund assistance. Through these initial helps, children who are categorized as “potential drop outs’ and “potential late enrollees” are properly guided in their schooling until the program sees them through. Their parents are also briefed about the program and the corresponding responsibilities they have to share in the program by monitoring their child’s education. The parents themselves automatically become  partners of the program where they benefit from trainings on values and enjoy opportunities for livelihood projects or training organized by the institution.

Usually, after the children are organized as a barangay children’s association , ACRE conducts a needs assessment with the children. Their expressed needs have become the basis in implementing programs and services for them. At some point, there were children in their junior and senior high school who were also invited to join in some livelihood training with their parents. In previous years, livelihood training skills such as in foot spa, manicure/pedicure, hair dyeing and make up demonstration were made available and possible for them to learn. Aside from conducting fora or seminar on child’s right and on anti-bullying,  summer activities like week-long bible classes and swimming lessons are also additional activities that the children look forward to every year. These activities are usually facilitated in by the university college students and employees.

Before the COVID pandemic came into the picture, every end of the semester , two or three of the children who showed good leadership  were sent to a city-wide or regional children’s convention organized by an LGU. Yearly, the ERDA Foundation which is the school’s tie-up organization would also invite these child leaders to a national convention in Manila providing them more avenues for learning not only in enhancing their leadership but also as a  venue in sharpening their social skills and strengthening their self-confidence. Liezl as a child leader was among them sent to several training not just locally, but region-wide or in a national level.

Every year, from January to March remedial classes in English, Math and Science are undertaken to help assisted children especially the slow learners in their academics. Mostly, university faculty and some non-teaching personnel take the responsibility to handle this initiative either as a facilitator, organizer or a resource speaker. ACRE has a regular schedule to visit the school where children are enrolled to monitor the children’s school performance.

As the pandemic continues to threaten the health and safety of every individual, ACRE sees to it that parents are well-organized into smaller groups. Every group is represented by a parent leader who helps monitor children and their progress in school through a group chat. They are the ones who distribute IEC materials on issue which ACRE would like to educate or inform them.

Last month, ACRE did a simple survey to gather feedbacks about the children’s experiences, fears and hopes while doing their modular tasks within the  confines of their homes. To respond to their needs, “Tawag Lang” project was launched. This is providing children with the opportunity to share their  experiences either emotional, spiritual, social, economic or in other forms which trigger them to call a friend or seek advice before things get worst. The project is now in the process of organizing pool of mentors and life’s coaches who can be texted, asked for advices from personal to academic concerns to keep children’s mental health sound and balanced.

Education truly promises a good life. Liezl’s life is a success story resembling a good education initiated by JA-ACRE and complemented by her dedication and perseverance. The ACRE program continues to chart its course so that more souls will be freed from the bondage of poverty by guiding them in the lighted path and with the right education.