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Feb 26th
Home Columns Ike Señeres Education as a Framework for Development
Education as a Framework for Development PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Friday, 07 January 2011 14:06


BANTAY GOBYERNO          (Series 049)

By Ike Señeres


A Colonel, Two Filipino Religious Workers and a Filipino Cosmetic Surgeon Are Reinventing Education


C ol. Rodolfo “Boy” Santiago, the Deputy Commander of the National Development Support Command (NADESCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is already implementing the strategy of building classrooms alongside school clinics, so that these clinics could also double as health centers for the local community. This two in one combination makes a lot of sense, because it serves both education and health objectives in one package.


Dr. John “Jancen” Cenica, a cosmetic surgeon wants to turn the proposed charity hospital project in Caloocan City into a teaching hospital. We agreed that the teaching hospital should turn out doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who are more loving and caring and imbued with a deep sense of social concern in the service of the poor.


The Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission, Inc. (FOLPMI) headed by Sister Eva Maamo employs the same approach of healing the poor and teaching them to start their own livelihood projects so that they could become financially independent. Sister Eva is a one of a kind holy person. She is not just a Catholic nun; she is also a doctor and a surgeon at that. If you are already impressed with that, let me tell you that she is also a winner of both the Mother Teresa Award and the Ramon Magsaysay Award.


Fr. Rocky Evangelista, a Salesian priest who is the founder of the Tuloy Foundation in Alabang has a similar approach. His foundation operates what is practically a boarding school where he houses and teaches former street children, turning them into productive citizens as they become employees or entrepreneurs. Fr. Rocky is a recipient of the Gusi Peace Prize and the Ten Outstanding Filipinos (TOFIL) Award.


Last Chance to Become Productive Citizens


T he Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, California owns and operates several residential educational centers where it has successfully turned around the lives of former substance abusers and ex-convicts, thus giving them a last chance to become productive citizens. The centers essentially operate as boarding schools where the students live, work and study until they are ready to return to the mainstream of society. Needless to say, the centers also have their own medical facilities where the health and rehabilitation needs of the students are attended to.


The common denominator of the approaches of Col. Santiago, Dr. Cenica, Sister Eva, Fr. Rocky and the Delancey Street Foundation is education, coupled with another social mission such as health, community development and personal transformation. I believe that there are many more possible interpretations and variations of this approach, and we should go out of our way to find out what these could be.


In theory, prisons are supposed to be rehabilitation centers where inmates are supposed to be reformed before they are released back to society, except those who are serving life terms. In reality, however, the inmates turn out to be more-hardened criminals more often than not, because of the bad influences inside those walls. By comparison, the Delancey Street Foundation is doing exactly what the prisons here are supposed to be doing.


There are many lessons that the local justice system here could learn from Delancey. First of all, the State of California allocates funds for the judges so that they could transfer these funds to the foundation as they turn over the convicts to them. These funds are used in the training of these ex-convicts, who in effect become resident students of the boarding schools. Secondly, the students are put to work in real employment situations as if they are already out in the open.


Ex-convicts, substance abusers and street children are not the only possible students of boarding schools. Even the children of poor families who could not afford to commute to and from the conventional schools could become residents of these boarding schools were they could have the right environment for learning.


In the experience of Delancey, they found out that the rehabilitation and reform of students could happen more if they are in a farming environment where they are closer to nature. This is the reason why there centers have in effect become farm schools, so to speak. There are many vacant buildings and raw lands that could potentially be turned into boarding schools or farm schools as the case may be. These schools could actually be owned by the local government units (LGUs) but operated by private foundations, within the context of the public and private partnership (PPP) concept. # # #


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Last Updated on Friday, 07 January 2011 14:09

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