Aug 5, 2008

Sorry state of education in Lanao del Sur, Philippines

Thanks for hat tip to Rohaniza 'honey', AAI's Philippines branch Officer-In-Charge and Program Coordinator, for this video and information. It details the sorry state of education in Lanao del Sur, Philippines. This is why we need very specific, highly selective intervention and effective monitoring of such interventions to tackle these issues at the grassroot level.

Every year, the Department of Education holds the National Elementary Achievement Test for all schools and every year, schools in Mindanao end up in the bottom ten. This year, Ariman Guro Elementary School in Lanao del Sur got an average score of 21.7%, the lowest grade among all elementary schools in the Philippines.

I-Witness' Sandra Aguinaldo heads to Lanao del Sur to find out why.

She discovers Ariman Guro only has six teachers for all grade levels, teachers with no subject specializations. The school sorely lacks chairs and tables and the only textbooks sent to them by government is for the Makabayan subject, forcing the teachers to buy textbooks using money from their own pockets.

The students at Ariman Guro often miss class. Their primary reason: the prevalence of "rido" or clan wars in the area.

Many of the students here belong to warring families. 11-year old Fahad Cosain recently lost his uncle to Rido. For his own safety, he stays at home now instead of going to school. His young cousins now carry guns to protect themselves from attack.

The school's candidate for valedictorian, Rahimah Nasroden, was also affected by her family's clan war. Rahimah was not allowed to go to school during the height of the conflict, for fear of abduction and possibly even assassination. Rahimah is back to school now and determined to finish her education, believing this is her only way out of poverty.

This gripping documentary on the lives of the students and teachers of Ariman Guro airs this Monday late night on I-Witness. Entitled "Iskulelat?", the documentary was hosted and written by Sandra Aguinaldo, recently awarded as Investigative Journalist of the Year at the Rotary Journalism Awards.