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PIA Press Release

Low high-school participation recorded as youths engage in work

By Jean Duron-Abangan

Tagum City (1 June) -- Davao del Norte students of 12 to 15 years of age are into work, further pulling secondary school participation rate to 44 percent.

This has prompted Department of Education (DepEd) Davao del Norte Schools Division superintendent Dr. Aurora Cobero to drum up calls for parents, guardians, and grassroots leaders to enroll children of 12 to 15 years of age for school year 2010-2011.

DepEd is now offering a scheme that allows working children to stay at work while pursuing their studies through its Alternative Learning System (ALS).

"They don't have to stop working. They only have to report once a week to their classes," she said in a separate interview after the come-back episode of Kapihan sa Kapitolyo on Thursday held after the series of Candidates Forum.

Out-of-school 12 to 15 years of age children have been found working in small banana plantations and in rice farms while others are tied to trisikad driving for a living, Cobero said.

Dr. Cobero made the urgent call in line with the Philippine bid to hit a record of 100 percent fulfillment to its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by the United Nations (UN) for its member countries to achieve in 2015.

Achievement of universal primary education is the second of the eight MDGs. Other MDGs are eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender equality and; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDs, Malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; develop a global partnership.

Dr. Cobero was looking at a very short remaining time before 2015 to work on providing free access to education especially to high school students if they choose to stay out of school and leave their studies for work.

Aside from coordinating with barangay officials, DepEd Davao del Norte is also establishing extension classes in far-flung areas of Talaingod particularly in Natulinan which lies along the of Bukidnon.

Dr. Cobero bared moves of the Provincial School Board to set up a "Balay Pasilungan" for Asuncion National High School which had been found to have the highest drop out rate. (JMDA/PIA XI) [top]

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