LOUD WHISPERS| There is an open high school now

THIS is the so-called “distance learning” which has been launched by DepEd (Department of Education) to cater to learners who are unable to attend the regular class program due to physical impairment, work, financial difficulties, distance of home to school, and other justifiable and legitimate reasons.

     Is this feasible? To my mind, this is very feasible specially in very remote areas and locations that are unreachable and in areas that have impassable roads. However, this may be feasible also in the urban areas where there are students desiring to go to school and who are deprived of this opportunity to attend classes because of the following reasons: 1) Too old to go to school; 2) Working girls or boys; 3) Disabled persons; 4) Can not afford to pay for schooling; 5) Household helpers, and others.

     This Open High School Program (OHSP) is an alternative mode of secondary education that uses distance learning. This is in consonance with the Education for All (EFA) goal of making every Filipino functionally literate by 2015. Its philosophy is based on the provision of Batasang Pambansa (BP) 232 or the Education Act of 1982, which states that the state shall provide the right of every individual to relevant quality education regardless of sex, age, creed, socio-economic status, physical and mental conditions, racial or ethnic origin, political and other affiliation.”

     The goal of this program is primarily to solve the problem of increased drop-outs from school. This therefore, will reduce or minimize drop-outs and provides opportunity to all elementary graduates and high school drop-outs, to complete high school education.

     Who are qualified in this program? According to DepEd, this is open to all public and private secondary schools. However, secondary schools can implement this program if they meet the following requirements:

     Letter of Intent to be submitted to the Schools Division Superintendent; 2. The school should apply for accreditation to the Bureau of Secondary Education. 3. The school should make available learning facilities and equipment in the school, e.g., library, computer room, laboratory room, workshop room, gymnasium, and etc. 4. The school should link with the community for the students’ access to facilities like computers, library, barangay learning center, internet café, public sports facilities and etc.

     So, friends and dear readers, if you know of someone who needs this kind of an educational system, the student-applicant must submit his/her high school report card; elementary report card; and PEPT qualifying certificate.

     The applicant must also take the following exams: Independent Learning Readiness Test (ILRT) and Informal Reading Inventory Test (IRI).

       Who is going to manage the activities of the OHSP? In each school, an OHSP Coordinator shall be assigned to oversee all the activities of the intervention. There should also be a Guidance Counselor who shall administer, analyze and interpret ILRT and IRI tests and helps teachers utilize test results. He/she helps screen qualified enrollees to the OHSP and keeps an updated profile of the students.

       I opine this OHS Program of the DepEd is indeed laudable. There are, (if truth speaks) a million or less teenagers who are out of school today. But this local scenario is not recorded by DepEd or CHED. Parents should therefore be informed widely and extensively that there is a program which brings hope to their children and to their families.

     Imagine, you graduate in school without going to the location of a certain school? This should be something that parents should be knowledgeable about. This is also similar to a distance learning system.

     I commute weekly (2X a wk) from a city here in Rizal province to reach a certain barangay in another municipality of the Province. I start from home in Antipolo City, province of Rizal as early as 5:30 a.m. and I am always sad to see children and teenagers already in the market with their parents. They help the parents in tending either a carenderia or restaurant or sari-sari store, and small grocery. Just last weekend, I asked one teenager with sandals on and t-shirt with short pants who was seated beside me, where he is studying. I was really sad to hear his answer: “Ma’am, din a ako nagaaral po.” I saw in his face the sadness and regret, as if telling me that I have to convince his mother to send him to a school. Then, I reacted saying, “Nasaan ang mama mo? Namalengke din ba?” Again, he answered, “Di ko po kasama. Nasa tindahan po namin.”

     This is a typical story of an out-of–school youth. But my question is: Why does not everybody know about this open-high-school system? Is it only disseminated to the selected few? Is it only offered or granted to the favorite ones?

   Indeed, there is a need for DepEd or CHED to spread the news that there is such a privileged school of learning that any deserving student can avail of. (FVS)

Posted in Opinion