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PIA Press Release

PGMA calls for greater efforts to increase social impact of education on Filipino youth

Manila (25 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rallied agencies and individuals in the education sector to make "targeted and consolidated" efforts to increase the "social impact" of education on the Filipino youth.

The President made the call in her speech at the ceremonies formally opening the newly constructed two-storey, four-classroom school building -- the latest addition to the Binalonan South Central School complex in Binalonan, Pangasinan.

"We can generate more social impact from education if the efforts are targeted and consolidated," the President said.

She said that this year, the government started to "cluster the programs of Department of Education (DepED), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and theTechnical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to create a forward-looking national education program."

This national education program, which is encapsulated in the recommendations forwarded by the Presidential Task Force for Education, sets the guidelines in improving the different states of the main education "highway" --pre-school, elementary school, high school, technical or vocational school, college, masters and post-graduate education.

A key feature of this national education program is the inclusion of five-year-old children in government-run daycare centers to strengthen and expand the DepEd's pre-school program.

The President said that under Executive Order No. 685 entitled, Expanding the Preschool Coverage to Include Children Enrolled in Day Care Centers, which she issued early last year, the DepEd is directed to strengthen its pre-school program to entice children to stay in school and thereby minimize dropouts in elementary schools.

Before delivering her speech, the President met with the members of the Local School Board of Binalonan and was presented the main features of the new pre-school curriculum by Education Secretary Jesli Lapus.

The new curriculum defines what a five-year-old child should know and be able to do. These are statements that set expectations for learning and development of children on the following: # 1) Values Development, 2) Physical Health and Motor Development, 3) Social and Emotional Development, 4) Cognitive Development, 5) Creative Arts, 6) Reading and Writing Readiness, and 7) Language, Literacy and Communication.

"Earlier today, we showcased our reforms in pre-school education, particularly Executive Order No. 685 on the Standardization of the Pre-School Curriculum for 5-year-olds with the goal of increasing the participation rate for Grade 1," she said.

After her speech, the President proceeded to a pre-school classroom and observed a demonstration on the preparation of a lesson plan for the first day of school based on the new standardized curriculum.

For this particular demo, the pre-school teacher, Ms. Winnie Fontanilla, discussed "Tamang Pagbasa" which falls under the Reading and Writing Readiness category.

The President then proceeded to the hand-washing and brushing trough area to observe the Essential Health Care Package showcase which includes: teaching pupils proper hand-washing and toothbrushing techniques and administration of oral de-worming tablets/suspension

She gamely joined the pre-schoolers and showed them the proper way of washing the hands to come up with "completely clean hands."

She then observed the school doctor and nutritionist administer de-worming suspension to pre-school pupils as part of the national launching of the Essential Health Care Package under the "Fit for School" program of the DepEd.

The Essential Health Care Package is implemented in the framework of the WHO-UNICEF's program "Health Promoting Schools" in public elementary schools and daycare centers.

The program aims to reduce neglected childhood diseases like parasitic infections and dental problems, two principal causes of absenteeism among schoolchildren. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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