By Jean Magaro
Jean Magaro is the Teacher-in-Charge of Rebi Elementary School, which is located on a mountain in Alamada, North Cotabato.
Pupils of Rebi ES during the distribution of their new books in April 2018, in time for the opening of classes this school year.
ALAMADA, NORTH COTABATO–– As an educator, I know that anyone who has never owned a book would never know how precious it is. I saw firsthand how pupils in the school I head– Rebi Elementary School– suffered from that problem. Many of them have not held a book in their hands. Only the teachers owned books, which they used for teaching.
A remark I heard from one of our pupils painfully illustrated this reality. He said: “I am Ifnan, I’m a Muslim. I dream to be a doctor, so I can help the people in our community with their illnesses and diseases. But I and many of us here in our school will not be able to reach our dreams because we don’t even have books”.
Ifnan and his classmates were not fortunate enough to gain wisdom from what they call libros poderosos (powerful books). Nevertheless, I think they know how precious books are.
Not having books had not entirely been a disadvantage to them. It taught them to be creative and forced them to use their imagination. They learned to visualize images and situations based on the teacher’s description alone. But when the lesson was too complicated, learning was really a struggle.
TIC Jean Magaro (wearing blue shirt) receives handmade valentine cards from his pupils.
Help then found its way to our school. Ellen Dellosa, CheckMySchool (CMS) coordinator in Alamada, and her volunteers found out about our problem after their school visit. They searched and called for help from different offices and organizations. Notre Dame of Midsayap College (NDMC) eventually responded and committed to provide books for our pupils.
They came and distributed the books in April 2018. It was a heartwarming experience for the children and for all of us in the school. On our part, it was like receiving a lifetime treasure. Pupils can now take the books home to make their assignments. Reading activities will not be limited inside our classrooms.
We expect these books to play an important part in the children’s education. They will be their learning companion and make them become confident learners. With these books, they will become timeless travelers, who will wander in different times and places, and meet people from different fields of sciences and arts.
As trivial as it may sound, books will help our school win district and division level contests and activities. We get a better chance to become well-known for our bright students. More importantly, books will help in decreasing dropout and absenteeism as students become more interested to participate in class.
The Notre Dame College of Midsayap distribute books and school supplies to pupils of Rebi ES.
There are still problems in our school that need attention. At this day and age, for instance, we have no access to common classroom equipment, such as LCD projectors, laptops, computers, and high-definition televisions.
But for now, the availability of books is one less problem to think about.
The education sector is facing a lot of problems that the ‘small’ problems tend to go unnoticed. I hope more people will take interest in the condition of public schools and visit us like CheckMySchool volunteers do. I wish more people will help address our schoolchildren’s needs, so we can ensure that no pupil gets left behind.
POSTSCRIPT: CMS Coordinator Ramel Palapo reported the issue of lack of textbooks to the Department of Education – Cotabato Division. During their roundtable discussion, DepEd explained that the books are procured by the Central Office and that it targets to accomplish a 1:1 (book per student) ratio in five (5) years.
If there’s any issue, problem or anything that you think needs improvement in your school, let us know if CMS can help. Go to http://www.checkmyschool.org/cms-can-help/.