Some 80 students from two public elementary schools in General Santos City will soon benefit from an agreement recently signed by community stakeholders led by the City Government on the implementation of CommuniTeach.
Initiated by Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), CommuniTeach is a program that aims to improve learning of academically-challenged public elementary school students all over the country by getting the communities involved in the mentoring of their children.
On hand to sign the agreement were General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, Smart Public Affairs Community Partnerships Senior Manager Darwin Flores, Mindanao State University (MSU)-General Santos City Chancellor Atty. Abdurrahman Canacan, Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Diosdado Ablanido and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) Senior Program Officer Riza Horcasitas-Verano.
Lozano Elementary School and NASA Elementary School, whose students will benefit from CommuniTeach, were also represented by their respective principals Teresita Cebreros and Rizalinda Valdez as well as parents-teachers association presidents Anne Maata and Sonia Vistal.
Under the agreement, Saturday classes will be held within the schoolyear among Grades one to three students who have been identified as among the lowest-performing in their respective classes. Forty students each from Lozano Elementary School and NASA Elementary School will be attending the tutorial sessions and will be closely monitored in terms of academic performance.
CommuniTeach is a community-based program with Smart providing overall program direction and oversight, as well as funding for the first year of implementation. The General Santos City Government will shoulder program expenses thereafter and will help mobilize local businesses by giving incentives to those who participate in CommuniTeach.
Identified as the program’s operations hub, MSU-General Santos will deploy students to serve as volunteer-teachers to the children from the two beneficiary public elementary schools. Lozano ES and NASA ES will identify the student-beneficiaries, monitor their progress, provide logistical support and involve their respective Parent-Teacher-Community Associations in preparing the students’ meals during the weekly tutorial and feeding session.
The DepEd district of General Santos will keep a firm eye on the students’ progress as well and help ensure that the beneficiary schools comply with the program obligations.
Smart has tapped the PBSP to ensure smooth program implementation and to seek additional funds from member companies. PBSP has an ongoing partnership with Motolite to raise funds through the Motolite – PBSP Balik Baterya Program Project LEAP (Learning Enhancement Assistance Package), an intervention using funds from the recovered used lead-acid batteries to improve access to quality education for public elementary schools, particularly through provision of books, teachers training, supplementary feeding and reading camps.
CommuniTeach uses the learning technology developed by Silid Aralan, Inc. which has successfully implemented the community-based mentoring model in Montalban, Rizal using a multiple intelligences approach in the development of academically-challenged children.
Smart’s efforts to get communities involved in the mentoring of their public school children via CommuniTeach are part of its education initiatives under its corporate social responsibility program Kabalikat.