EDUCATOR’S VOICE: Relevant gov’t response: Addressing high drop-out rate through 4Ps

MARAMAG, Bukidnon (15 August/BukidnonNews.Net) The perennial problem of dropouts in many schools has been addressed by the government. This incidence of school drop-outs was attributed to the condition of the pupils’ family who cannot totally support their children’s schooling. Such condition is characterized by the inadequate food, school supplies and money for transportation from their home to the school.

Most parents expressed that they let their children give up school because they cannot give them enough “baon.” Fare is high and food is not enough for all their children who go to school everyday. They also expressed that the children who dropped out are actually forced to work to help augment the family’s income.

Having children out of the school is not favorable to the government.

Children are given the preferred treatment because they are recognized to exercise their rights as provided in the 1987 Philippine Constitution and guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) promoted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the UNICEF.

Similarly, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization promotes Education For All (EFA) that ensures the equal access and opportunity to quality education for all children.

Under this condition, the government responded by implementing the 4 Ps program that provides the poor families with cash allowance to support the children’s need in school such as food, and school supplies and ensure that they stay in school to study.

The 4 Ps or Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program aims to give financial support to the poorest of the poor sector in different communities to ensure that high literacy level among the Filipinos remains high.

Although, the 4Ps program is viewed by some sectors to be a dole-out approach, the education sector is hopeful that the program would be an effective means to reducing high drop-out rate.

However, government intervention must go beyond just giving in the form of cash transfer. It must also develop the value of responsibility and accountability among parents. The recipients should be trained to use the funds for the school needs of their children. The school officials and teachers, on their part are expected to take the responsibility of educating the parents on the proper and wise use of the financial resources given by the government.

In this way, values formation of parents will also be part of the 4Ps so that the perception of dole-out will be eliminated. (Contributed by Melba C. Arteta/Camp 1 Elementary School, Maramag, Bukidnon)