Not long ago, the whole world lauded the efforts of CNN’s 2009 Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida when he began his kariton classroom (pushcart classrooms) project for street children.
Now, it seems like this concept has inspired the latest initiative of the Department of Education (DepEd), which will incorporate a mobile concept to bring classrooms to children in Manila this coming schoolyear.
As a response to the shortage of classrooms in Metro Manila, and in alignment with the new K to 12 academic program, the Bagong Henerasyon Party List and DepEd, together with the Quezon City government, will launch the “Kindergarten on Wheels” (KOW) project.
Touted to be an “innovative, creative solution” to the issue of cramped classrooms in Manila, pilot programs of the project will begin this schoolyear (2012-2013) in certain parts of Metro Manila, particularly where there is a shortage of classrooms due to an overpopulation of students. The program hopes to help lessen the reported classroom backlog of 66,000. DepEd will be providing the necessary tools such as an improved curriculum guide and teaching materials for the educators and volunteers.
Explains Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, “This is in tribute to former President Cory Aquino on her 79th birthday, knowing her love for the youth. This is very important because at the age of five, children absorb everything. It can change their future.”
Twenty 24-seater container vans and customized trucks were converted into mobile air-conditioned classrooms which are be equipped with audio-visual equipment, tables, chairs, a whiteboard, and books. Within a span of four shifts, about 100 students can be accommodated, illustrates Dy, versus the four classrooms that is shared by an average of 600 students.
The DepEd aims to provide universal access to kindergarten in public schools by 2016, as well as to eventually expand this project nationwide where classroom shortage is a problem.