'I Failed Kinder Entrance Test'

MANILA, Philippines - Long before he became the country's top leader, President Benigno S. Aquino III failed his first kindergarten admission test.

The President made this revelation about failing his kinder IQ test during the formal presentation of Republic Act No. 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Act in the Palace.

The new law, signed by the President last January 20, requires five-year-olds to take up a kindergarten course in preparation for entry to Grade 1.

The President, at the start of his speech, recalled that his mother brought him to the Ateneo testing center where the guidance counselor blindfolded him and gave him a three-piece puzzle "to determine my IQ."

Aquino said he felt he was being tricked when asked by the guidance counselor "to make a horse." He said he rode horses when he was young and that he was taught by his parents that God created horses.

"Eventually, the guidance counselor became frustrated and removed my blindfold and angrily told me to make a horse," Aquino said in Filipino. "I answered back that only God can make a horse so I flunked the entrance exam," he said with a grin, drawing laughter from the audience.

But Aquino said he eventually landed in the top 10 students when he was in Grade 1. "The guidance counselor must have rethought their testing methods," he said.

The President, meantime, hailed the enactment of the Kindergarten Law to improve a child's performance in grade school and lessen early dropout. He also thanked the lawmakers involved in crafting of the new law institutionalizing kindergarten schooling.

"With the enactment of Republic Act 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Law, we are moving forward in strengthening the education system in the country. This is part of our K to 12 Basic Education Program. We are also moving closer to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of having 100 percent primary education by 2015," he said.

Under the new law, Aquino said children must take a year in kindergarten starting school year 2012-2013 before entering Grade 1. He said the law also requires the use of the student's mother tongue or first language as the official medium of instruction.

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