LEGAZPI CITY: Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed concern over the growing problem on malnutrition that now affects 3.6 million children in public schools.
Speaking before more than 3,000 teachers here for the 2016 Education Summit and National Teachers’ Day Celebration, the Vice President said the issue on malnutrition and stunting among school children is alarming.
Citing the data of Save the Children, Robredo said the Philippines is one of the countries in the world that account for most of the global burden of malnutrition.
“We have 3.6 million (stunted) children, causing us to rank 9th among countries with the highest number of stunting, and 10th among countries with the highest burden of wasting. At present, there are 1.5 million Filipino children who go through a day without eating,” she said.
Robredo said that since children who are stunted have poor physical and mental development, they are likely to become repeaters in school or drop outs.
Stunting is the most prevalent form of undernutrition and has permanent effects on a child’s growth and development.
“If this issue isn’t solved now, it will become a huge economic problem. As we celebrate National Teacher’s Month, World Teacher’s Day and recognize the achievements of our colleagues in the academe, may you remember that your duty in educating our nation’s children goes beyond the four corners of the classroom,” she said.
She said malnutrition extends into the communities and families.
The Vice President also urged public school teachers to introduce and innovate new ways of learning for the 24.4 million public school students in the country.
“In a time where our values as a people are constantly being shaken and questioned, where violence is being mistaken for peace, and where basic human rights are being scoffed at – teachers serve as beacons of light that shine brighter than ever. Use your influence and use it now.
“You are the hope of our 24.4 million children in our public schools,” Robredo told the teachers.
“With every new course material, learning aid and class activity, you encourage students to be creative and critical of their surroundings. Each one of you holds a key to the enlightenment of a child’s mind. Each key is important; each task significant; each child worthy of our tireless efforts,” she said.
Robredo said there is a need to link senior high school graduates with relevant industries.
She urged the teachers to support the Department of Education in making this year as smooth and as productive as possible since 2016 is a transition year under the K-to-2 program.
“We can do that by providing senior high school students with sufficient information so that they can choose specialization tracks that will ensure productive employment or business opportunities after senior high school.
This is the focus and priority of our office to link our senior high school programs with relevant industries so the transition will be easy,” she said.
Robredo added that local government units have a massive role to play in bridging industries with schools, so that students and their parents can make informed decisions.