MANILA – In February 2008, thousands of students greeted Manitoba Premier Gary Doer at a ceremony to announce the donation of $10,000 to help build two new classrooms at Jose Rizal Elementary School on Tayuman Street in Tondo, Manila. The donation to the school included funding from both the provincial government and the Philippine Association of Manitoba’s Donate-a-Classroom project.
In a ceremony on December 10, 2008, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who also provided personal support to the project, officially opened the new classrooms.
“I want to congratulate Manitoba’s Filipino community, Mayor Lim, school officials and the embassy for all their hard work in bringing this effort to completion,” said Premier Gary Doer in a recent press release. “Our Filipino community thought this project would be a great way to demonstrate our friendship with the Philippines and we couldn’t agree more. I am pleased to see the new classrooms are opening for learning.”
The facilities, which are located prominently adjacent the central courtyard area of the school, are now set up as dedicated computer lab and a classroom for journalism.
The Canadian Embassy in Manila provided 15 fully working computers through the Government of Canada’s Computers for Schools program. It was the first time computers have been made available to the students.
Program helps keep children in school
In related news, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released its evaluation of the Philippine government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program on January 13. According to the ADB’s study, the cash incentive programme is helping keep children in primary school, but not preventing them from dropping out of high school.
The food-for-education subsidy started just over a year ago and gives 300 pesos ($7.89) a month to children aged between six and 15 from the poorest 300,000 households on condition they attended classes regularly.
“The results showed that the targeted CCT (conditional cash transfer) programme would lead to greater school attendance and poverty reduction,” the Asian Development Bank said, evaluating the impact of the programme.
With the amount, “almost one in every three children aged 6-15 who are currently not attending school would have enough incentive from the transfer to go to school,” the Manila-based lender said.
Half of this group would then opt to attend school while continuing to work outside the home, it added. The bank also said two million children of school age – or 10 percent of the country’s total – fail to attend school.
The ADB study also suggested that targeted cash transfers “could be more effective for targeting older children,” citing the huge disparity in the 16 percent dropout rate at the secondary school level, compared to just over five percent for grade school.
One such alternative is “increasing the transfer amount progressively with the age of the child,” it added.