‘Kariton klasrum’ to educate more Filipino street children

By Alexander Villafania

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA - Two years after being recognized as CNN's Hero of the Year, Efren Peñaflorida's Dynamic Teen Company (DTC) continued to expand its activities, with some provinces emulating the “kariton klasrum” (classroom pushcart) concept.

Due to the group's success, The Department of Education (DepEd) has shown interest in getting the DTC to help the agency reach out to more street children and out-of-school youths nationwide.

During the first meeting of the DepEd and the DTC, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said he plans to collaborate with Peñaflorida and his group to initially map out a nationwide activity that will provide basic education to the underserved sector of the Philippines.

Luistro said the DepEd is pushing its alternative learning system (ALS), which is already being used in some areas. However, he acknowledged the fact that there are still many localities where the ALS program has yet to be implemented. A partnership with the DTC will allow more street children to have better learning opportunities.

One of the concepts of the partnership is to get recipients of DTC's learning programs to be prepared for formal education. This ensures that DTC's learning recipients will continue to formal education.

Details are also being threshed out regarding partnering with other non-government organizations (NGOs) and institutions that are offering non-formal alternative learning systems. Luistro said he is looking to have a detailed “map” of all alternative learning programs nationwide and to get everyone to collaborate to ensure the success of all similar projects.

“We acknowledge that there are many organizations that are helping children of less privileged families. But we do want to make things successful so we all need to collaborate,” Luistro said.

Among the DepEd divisions that met with the DTC were the Bureau of Elementary Education, Bureau of Secondary Education, the Alternative Learning System, and Instruction Materials Council Secretariat.

In an interview, Peñaflorida said that while the DTC has already conducted collaborative programs with local DepEd offices, this is the first time that they have engaged with the national level of the DepEd. He said that more collaboration should work in ensuring that more young people will be able to enjoy being in school.

“Our vision is to develop love for learning for street children and by working with the DepEd, our vision to get more students from the poor to go to school will materialize,” Peñaflorida said.

***

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