Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Illiterate Filipinos now 15 million, and counting (Repost)

Illiterate Filipinos now 15 million, and counting
Written by Lilita Balane
Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Out-of-school children, school dropouts pushing statistics upward

The number of illiterate Filipinos, which has grown to 15 million in the last 6 years, is expected to further increase as more children stop schooling every year, education specialists said on Tuesday.

The unabated stream of dropouts, they said, may prevent the government from fulfilling its international commitment to provide “functional literacy” or adequate education for all Filipinos by 2015.

When the Philippines adopted the United Nations’ Education For All (EFA) in 2006, its initial goal was to make all Filipinos aged 10 to 64 functionally literate. This means bringing to zero the number of functionally illiterate population from the recorded 11 million Filipinos in 2003.

Unlike basic literacy, which only requires the ability to read and write, functional literacy includes the ability to cope with the demands of everyday life, like problem solving and communicating.

The Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), a survey to determine literacy rate in the Philippines every 5 years, showed that 11 million Filipinos lacks functional literacy, while 4 million Filipinos have no basic literacy.

Critical year

From around 15 million illiterate Filipinos, the illiteracy rate is expected to increase with the more children unable to go to school, and with those in school dropping out, said Edecio de la Torre, president of the Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net).

“2010 is a critical year for education. It marks the final stretch of the EFA 2015. Countries will be conducting its end decade-assessment to check the progress they had made. The Philippines will be conducting its own assessment and the picture does not seem to be rosy,” said Raquel Castillo, advocacy officer of Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education(ASPBAE).

In 2008, Department of Education (DepEd) reported that some 2.2 million children aged 6 to12 years, and 3.4 million aged 12-15 years, are not in school. Moreover, a 2003 Asian Development Bank report showed that out of the 100 children who enter grade school, only 65 graduate. After graduation, only 58 return for high school, and only 45 of them finish.

To meet the EFA target, the Department of Education has carried out programs like adult education for old people who want to continue their education, and the alternative learning system (ALS).

This month, it launched Project ReaCh (Reaching All Children). This program allows public schools to hold another enrolment in October to accommodate about 5.6 million out-of-school youth.

The new students will be provided “flexible alternative modules,” which would help them catch up with their missed lessons.

Center of debates

There is also the DepEd’s Project EASE (Effective and Affordable College Education) and Open High School program, which will not require the presence of students in the classroom, especially those who are working. Instead, they will be provided modules they can study at home.

“Despite Philippine basic education being free, we still have a staggering number of school-age children and youth out in the streets who face exploitation in all forms,” Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said in a press statement.

For its part, E-Net launched “10 Days, 10 Voices,” a 10-day campaign that would place education as a center of election debates for the 2010 polls. The event hopes to highlight the situation of education as seen by teachers, parents, child laborers, indigenous people, and other marginalized sectors.

Meanwhile, Literacy Coordinating Council head Norma Salcedo and E-Net vice-president Flora Arellano said that an increased education budget would help the DepEd invest in programs that would reach out-of-school youth and adults.

Meager budget

Arellano said that in the past years, the budget for education was only around 12% of the national budget, or 2.36% of the country’s gross domestic product. This is way below international standards, where 20% of the national budget goes to education.

“The proposed budget speaks very little about quality, equity, the out-of-school youth, the illiterates, and the un-reached,” Arellano added.

For 2010, DepEd proposed for P159 million budget for basic education, but the alternative budget initiative of E-net and other education advocates suggests P165 million.

Arellano said the additional budget would fund the expansion of DepEd’s ALS program and other drop-out reduction projects. (Newsbreak)

Celebrate the Freedom to Read! Celebrate Banned Books Week (Sept. 26-Oct. 3)

Banned Books Week is celebrated on September 26 to October 3 this year. Let's celebrate our freedom to read!

How of these frequently-challenged have you read?

100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999

  1. *Scary Stories (Series), by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate, by Michael Willhoite
  3. *I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  4. *The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  5. *The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  6. *Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  7. Forever, by Judy Blume
  8. *Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  9. Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman
  10. *The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  11. *The Giver, by Lois Lowry
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
  14. Alice (Series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  15. *Goosebumps (Series), by R.L. Stine
  16. *A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
  17. *The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  18. *Sex, by Madonna
  19. *Earth’s Children (Series), by Jean M. Auel
  20. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
  21. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
  22. *The Witches, by Roald Dahl
  23. *A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
  24. The New Joy of Gay Sex, by Charles Silverstein
  25. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
  26. The Goats, by Brock Cole
  27. The Stupids (Series), by Harry Allard
  28. Anastasia Krupnik (Series), by Lois Lowry
  29. Final Exit, by Derek Humphry
  30. Blubber, by Judy Blume
  31. Halloween ABC, by Eve Merriam
  32. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
  33. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
  34. *The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  35. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters, by Lynda Madaras
  36. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
  37. *The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  38. *The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
  39. *The Pigman, by Paul Zindel
  40. *To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  41. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
  42. Deenie, by Judy Blume
  43. *Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  44. Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden
  45. *Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  46. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
  47. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat, by Alvin Schwartz
  48. *Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
  49. *Cujo, by Stephen King
  50. *James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
  51. A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
  52. *Ordinary People, by Judith Guest
  53. *American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
  54. *Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  55. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  56. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
  57. Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole
  58. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons, by Lynda Madaras
  59. The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell
  60. *Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
  61. Boys and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
  62. Crazy Lady, by Jane Conly
  63. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
  64. Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan
  65. Fade, by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What?, by Mem Fox
  67. *Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  68. *Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  69. *Native Son by Richard Wright
  70. *Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies, by Nancy Friday
  71. Curses, Hexes and Spells, by Daniel Cohen
  72. On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer
  73. *The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende
  74. Jack, by A.M. Homes
  75. Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertge
  76. Family Secrets, by Norma Klein
  77. Mommy Laid An Egg, by Babette Cole
  78. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  79. Where Did I Come From?, by Peter Mayle
  80. *The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney
  81. *Carrie, by Stephen King
  82. *The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
  83. *The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  84. *Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  85. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
  86. *Private Parts, by Howard Stern
  87. Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford
  88. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
  89. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
  90. Little Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman
  91. *Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education, by Jenny Davis
  94. Jumper, by Steven Gould
  95. *Christine, by Stephen King
  96. The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene
  97. That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
  98. Girls and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
  99. The Wish Giver, by Bill Brittain
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
* Books I've read

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Air Supply Song am I? - I Simply Want to Give it All

Avel Manansala's GenSan News Online Mag once again launches another blog contest and outdoes the previous ones on Side A and David Pomeranz!

This time it's the What Air Supply Song Are You? Blog Contest sponsored by Concert Producer Michael Wee and his Dreamworks Ventures, Inc. which brings in quality entertainment to Gensan like the Air Supply Concert in GenSan. Michael Wee also owns the Grab A Crab Restaurant and Coffee Club 101.The said contest was launched in connection with the Air Supply Live in Gensan Concert on October 2. The Air Supply in GenSan Concert is a major production of Dreamwork Ventures Inc.’s Platinum Concert Series 2009, in cooperation with the City Government of GenSan, the GenSan City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., ABS-CBN. Other partners are Grab A Crab Restaurant, MISO Hardware, San Miguel Corporation, Coca Cola Bottlers Inc., East Asia Royale Hotel, Coffee Dream, Giacominos, NY Fries and Dips, Giacominos, Gaisano Mall of GenSan and Gregoria Printing Press.

Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply
What Air Supply Song Am I?

Here I am again, I've come to see you smile
I know you understand
I have to say again, it's only for a while.

I didn't immediately take a liking to Air Supply's debut album Lost in Love. That much I'll admit. But when I heard I Want to Give It All, a cut from their second album, I ran out of the house and bought myself a copy of The One that You Love cassette tape. That tape finally lost its sound fidelity from having it played countless of times and was eventually replaced by a CD.

It doesn't happen every day
But it happened to me once before
Those early years I threw away
Now I only have to hear your voice
To make me feel so sure that your love is why I want to give it all.

Unrequited love is bittersweet as it brings exquisite joy and pain. My love story is of the unrequited kind. Unrequited because my beloved does not have an inkling at all of being loved by me. You see, I met my beloved in high school. Our friendship lasted even after college but my beloved never knew my feelings transcended friendship.

My beloved left for abroad and never knew about the love letters I wrote for every year that we were apart. After losing touch with my beloved for almost two decades, imagine my pleasant surprise when my beloved rang me up through an overseas call. And at that moment, all the longing I felt for my beloved simply vanished and I realized that I only have to hear the voice of my beloved to make me feel so sure that my love is why I want to give it all.

Don't the minutes fly
And hours just seem so few with days apart so long
It's hard to spend my time
When I'm so far from you.

These days are made complete by seeing my beloved's smile while we are chatting through webcam, feeling the chasm between us closing in and erasing the thousands of miles separating us. These days are made complete just by hearing my beloved's voice, reassuring me of the friendship between us. My happiness is complete just loving my beloved, albeit unrequited, from afar.

An Air Supply song does that to you. Every song they sing is personal. And hits you where it matters - the heart. No wonder, in every Filipino life, there is an Air Supply theme song playing in the background. And in my life, I Want to Give It All will be playing as long as I live and continue to love my beloved.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking up to our teachers (Repost)

No photo Looking up to our teachers
ROSES & THORNS By Alejandro R. Roces (The Philippine Star) Updated September 08, 2009 12:00 AM

A month-long national campaign for teachers is being observed this month. This was launched on September 4 and will culminate on October 5, a day proclaimed by the UNESCO as World Teachers’ Day. Teachers of today are faced with a great challenge as the world becomes more and more a global village and the country to which they belong needs to put up with increasing competition for growth and survival. The need for constantly upgrading their knowledge and skills comes to fore in the light of rapidly changing information from the internet and other media sources such as the television, radio and newspapers, from where students get more and learn more, both good and bad, and sadly, without guidance.

Today, we also observe International Literacy Day, and focus is trained on a staggering 780 million adults in the world who are illiterate, with at least a hundred million children lacking access to education. In our country, although the basic literacy rate (the ability of a person to read and write with understanding of a simple message in common languages or dialect) is fairly high at 93 percent for individuals over 10 years old, millions remain out of school and more found to be functionally illiterate, especially those among the indigenous cultural communities. These are the pocket areas where the special need for teachers with genuine commitment, a missionary heart driven by a strong vocation to impart knowledge should be directed. Without the benefit of schools and teachers in these remote areas, these marginalized people will remain in the doldrums of ignorance without caring people to reach out to them. Few people remember that some of these marginalized groups (like the Tasadays in the seventies) have not once been taken advantage of for self-enrichment and selfish ambitions of a few “knowledgeable” individuals. This is because of their lack of understanding of the ways of the world because they kept much among themselves, with no one to teach them the basic facts of life in relation to others outside of their sphere.

The role of teachers today is sadly relegated to the mere imparting of knowledge and skills, seeing through the accomplishment of academic requirements until their students graduate from a stage of education to the next or helping them attain a degree in higher learning. To anyone, undoubtedly, teaching is indeed a noble role and being able to help a student realize a major achievement in life while making him become a responsible citizen, gives them a sense of fulfillment in their chosen vocation. They cannot help it that competition is ingrained from the early stages of a life’s learning process, but in the same degree that this drives a person to achieve, a spirit of competition, unknowingly, also helps plant the seeds of corruption and false ambition to be the greatest one day. Hence, today, it is not uncommon to see the most privileged and educated individuals, some of them in “public service” involved in the most corrupt practices, entangled in their ambitions to have more and become more no matter who gets hurt in the process.

We read of awards citing the most outstanding teachers for their achievements in their line of work, who made a difference in the lives of their students and co-teachers alike and who went beyond their limitations and difficult situations in order to encourage their students not only to learn more but to contribute valuable and novel ideas for the betterment of society and its citizens. We salute our teachers who develop the best in their students, because they put their hearts and minds for them. They instil in people the values of hard work, sacrifice and discipline, encourage attitudes towards learning more and caring for others at the same time, leading them to have a greater vision beyond their ambitions.

May we have more of these kinds of teachers in our midst today. With them, our hope for a better future for everyone is alive!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Toys from Ebay.ph

I remember the Coca Cola promo in the mid-60s when kids like me could exchange several Coke/Tru-Orange/Lem-o-lime crowns for white Disney plastic miniatures. Because we had a store then, I was at an advantage (didn't have to buy/drink a lot of soft drinks to collect crowns). I must have gotten the complete set of miniatures and the special board similar to that of the snakes and ladders game board. I jealously kept this collection from my siblings by putting them in a box with my comic books and climbing a cabinet to put it on the top shelf. The box was lost when looters barged into our store during a fire nearby and with it, a part of my childhood memories, or so I thought then. And so when I saw this boxed collection of 42 silver Disney miniatures on Ebay.ph, I gave a whooping yell and immediately bid on it. It was a 7 Eleven promo for the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005. I guessed it was an attempt to recapture that part of my childhood when I was happy reading Disney comics and playing with the Disney miniatures.The boxed set features 42 Magical Miniatures from Disney and Pixar films - from Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Snow White & the 7 dwarfs, to Toy Story, Little Mermaid, Lion King, The Incredibles, Beauty and the Beast, Lilo and Stitch, Winnie the Pooh, and Peter Pan. It also includes a book tracing the development of film animation and a pop-up Disney cinema in the centerfold where one can put in screencaps from the movies.Mickey and Minnie Mouse were my very first favorite Disney characters. Those are three of the seven dwarfs of Snow White behind them. Dumbo and Tinkerbelle had to put in lots of flying hours as I had them flying all over our bedroom. Goofy and Pluto gave me hours and hours of laughter.
Three Mickey Mouse permutations. At left is the Chinese Mickey stuffed toy, in the middle is the Mickey with the Philippine flag on his shirt front and a Mickey key chain at right.Mickey in Pinoy shirt
I'm proud to own this Charlie Brown plush toy which must have been part of a McDonald's promo. It occupies a special place among my collection of Snoopy figures.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

GTX (Gensan Tunafest eXperience) impressions

Horrendous traffic jam on Roxas, Pendatun, Osmena and Laurel Avenues. Tricycles (especially colorum ones) taking advantage of it by charging exorbitant fares.

Di-mahulugang-karayom crowds at the Oval Plaza, day and nite. Children getting lost. Sweaty people brushing elbows with one another. Several perfunctory frisking at entry points. SRO attendance at the ukay-ukay booths. Food and drinks overflow.

Even the smallest barbecue eateries are filled with diners. Rowdy teeners being served beers.

Tuna floats in silver and ocean colors. Mardi gras dancers in a frenzy.

Inauguration of the P34-million General Santos Park, with shiny people-shaped lamp posts, faux-bamboo bridges, seats to lounge in, perimeter fences around it. Wondering when vendors start invading it and the upkeep slackens like what happened to the Children's Playground across the BIR office.

Miss Gensan pageant, Fishdance and Bodyfest at Gaisano Mall are perennial fave must-watch events. Winning Ms. Gensan needs speech lessons (now na!).

Politicos in person and in their special GTX infomercials greeting the Generals on the 41st Charter anniversary.

Hotels and pension houses at all-time high occupancy rate!

Male foreigners with their Pinay girlfriends and families in tow.

People gathering at the KCC Rooftop parking entrance gate waiting for arrival of GMA7 stars.

Rock band concerts at the Oval Plaza. Foam and Splash parties at local hotels.

Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. mark culmination of GTX.