More than a thousand street children and out-of-school youth from Metro Manila completed their schooling through mobile classrooms (kariton klasrum), which aims to reintegrate out-of-school children at risk on the streets aged five to 14 into mainstream or regular schools.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said 1,267 children finished the program which was first implemented in Metro Manila, Cavite province, and typhoon-stricken Tacloban City where more than 100 mobile classrooms were deployed. Of this number, 63 roamed streets in low-income communities in Metro Manila.
Luistro said the street children and out-of-school youth who graduated this year are “now ready to enter to regular schools.”
“You enrol them in the school kapag ready na ‘yung bata,” Luistro explained.
He said the program includes teaching the street children using the education department’s alternative delivery modes program, and making them adjust to a more formal learning setting.
“Some children can easily catch up on the lessons with only two months of training, while others take eight months before they can enter to regular schools,” he explained.
Luistro also said that around 10 percent of the street children are still attending classes at the mobile classrooms because they are not yet ready to enter to formal education.
“But this does not mean na sila ay bumagsak, maaaring hindi palang sila handa sa ngayon…so dapat continues pa ang kanilang modules at saka programa,” the outgoing education secretary explained.
Luistro noted that his successor, incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones, supports the program.
“We will turn this over to Secretary Briones. Actually this is her advocacy,” he said.
In 2012, the DepEd has partnered with CNN “hero of the year” Efren Peñaflorida Jr. for the project.
Peñaflorida said he is happy that the first batch of kariton learners will now enter regular schools.
“It means a lot,” he said.
The pushcart educator thanked volunteers and the local government units for helping the street children back to regular schools.