Monthly Archives: May 2008

Naga City’s class act

NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR — If one were to put local governments in a classroom setting, the executive body of this thriving city southwest of Metro Manila would be the overachieving nerd, the one guaranteed to garner the most medals at the end of each term.

So when Naga City received a failing grade in one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — achieving universal primary education — local officials characteristically lost no time in dreaming up a program aimed at improving its score. It’s a situation made even more challenging by the city’s demographics: one out of every three Nagueño is of school age. But as Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo put it, “We need to address the continuing inability of our school system to ensure that no child is left behind.”

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A school board makeover

NAGA CITY’S successes in its poverty alleviation efforts no doubt allowed it to focus its resources on improving access to basic services like education. But all its education reform efforts could not have been possible without its reinvention of the local school board.

The transformation began in 2001, when the MDGs were largely unheard of and a national government directive for the goals to be localized and included in development planning processes was yet forthcoming. But Naga’s decision then to revamp the school board’s orientation and organizational structure later put the city in a better position to address the gaps in achieving the MDG targets in education.

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Video: Birth Pangs

GIVING birth is no easy task. In fact, some say that it’s the greatest pain a woman will ever experience. Hence the truism that once a woman gets pregnant, one foot is already in the grave.

What is true is that far too many women in the Philippines still die from complications related to their pregnancies.

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‘Ghost teachers,’ phantom schools
haunt education reforms in ARMM

LAWYER FRANCES Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi talks to distraught “dead” teachers all the time, but she makes it a point to crack jokes when they call her on her cell phone at night.

“I appeal to them, please don’t call me at night,” she says. “I’m afraid of you, you’re already dead.”

Guiani-Sayadi is the Solicitor General of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). She has been given the horrendous task of putting order to the chaotic records of teaching personnel in the ARMM.

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Las Piñas pushes school reforms
despite lack of funds, teachers

LAS PIÑAS CITY — When the latest results of the National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 6 students came out in June 2007, this southern Metro Manila city got the fourth highest score in the National Capital Region (NCR), adding yet another item in Las Piñas’s growing list of achievements.

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Maguindanao, RP fall behind
key indicators for education

A TOWN IN MAGUINDANAO — Ten-year-old Dino and two younger boys were harassing a hapless chicken under a neighbor’s nipa house. Covered with dust, the boys obviously hadn’t had a bath just yet that day, and had chosen to go after the chicken while other children in this village trooped to a nearby river to soak and to play.

It looked like a typical village scene — only that it was the middle of a school day and Dino (not his real name) and many of the children should have been in class. But the classrooms in Dino’s school were shuttered because its four teachers were attending a meeting in the capital.

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Toilet trouble

WE MAY have heard enough toilet humor and rumors. Now it’s about time to get serious about a simple toilet habit that can save people from many health risks: washing hands.

Health and sanitation experts say this basic hygiene practice after a pee or poo can keep one away from several diseases, diarrhea and worm infections being among the most common and fatal.

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