Due to the lack of family and personal resources, a lot of very talented and promising students have a difficulty continuing their education. Even with government subsidized tuition fees, the students require living allowances for their daily needs. It is necessary not only to provide the financial resources to allow them to complete their education but also to create awareness in them that the private sector can provide the means to accomplish their goals. This will in turn, will help the individual recipient develop values that will make him/her a future proponent of the foundation’s goals and aspirations. It is also the hope of the foundation that they become dedicated to a career in public service to uplift the lives of others in our community.

     2005-2006 data from the Department of Education (DepEd) indicates that there are already about 37,161 Public Schools in the Elementary level catering to almost 13 million students. There is a great need to help develop and provide basic educational infrastructures like school buildings, instructional materials, audio-visual facilities and computer units with internet access. These are necessary for students primarily in the elementary level to develop competencies when they continue their pursuit for higher learning. The Cohort Survival Rates(CSR), the proportion of enrollees at the beginning grade or year who reach the final grade or year at the end of the required number of years of study, are very low in several provinces. Some CSRs are bordering at the 60% level and others even going below 50%.

     It may only be improved if the facilities and the educational tools are in order and available. Upgrading teaching methods and the curriculum are also important to the overall educational development of the student.

     The Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP), which was started in 1997 recognizes the problems of the facilities of the schools specially those that belong to the 22 poorest provinces of the country. The main funders of the program are the National Government, the World Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). One of its aims is to improve the quality of Public Elementary education by building the DepEd’s capability to manage change. It also seeks to improve the Pupil’s performance in terms of increasing the learning and achievement rate, the participation rate and the completion rate. It wishes to involve the community in a large-scale effort to attain quality education. The government “is slated to build 3,000 school buildings or 6,000 classrooms every year which needs also to provide new desks and chairs, books for the students, grant scholarship to qualified poor families and put a computer in every school.”(See attached article: Building of 3,000 Schools). Unfortunately, the National Governments falls short in its obligations to fund the projects due to the strains in the National Budget caused by large budget deficit and international and domestic loans that needs to be paid or serviced.

     The cuts in the Department’s budget, has hampered its ability to continue to fund infrastructure projects that are long overdue. Most classrooms and school buildings are in such serious dilapidated state that it is no longer conducive for students to hold classes. Besides, there is a large shortage of classrooms to meet the yearly increase in the number of students due to the high population growth rate. The government has at times pegged the ratio of students per classroom at 100:1 to mask the real situation of the classroom shortage. It is already a “stretch” to have 40 students per classroom what more a hundred. To further burden the Department, it has to hire more teachers and provide continuous training to enhance the deliverance of the continuously changing educational curriculum.

     A training program is necessary to cater to the instructional management needs of teachers determined through a school-based training needs assessment. It will also enhance the teachers’ value formation, emphasizing the values of the commitment to the education of the students.

     The TEEP is supposed to have completed its task at the end of June 2006. It is now necessary for the private sector through Foundations and NGOs to spearhead the development of these educational institutions to supplement the anticipated shortfalls in the government’s efforts. It will require a great deal of financial resources to make a serious dent on the need to upgrade the facilities and the educational materials for the benefit of the public school students. The DepEd has an ADOPT-A-SCHOOL program and several groups have stepped forward to contribute to this program. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce is one of the organizations that has taken up the challenge and has constructed a great number of school buildings/ classrooms to help address some of the shortfalls.

     Even if the funds are made available it is important to understand how the funds will be utilized to maximize the benefit to the students. The use of audio-visual mediums and computers are now basic learning tools in most of the private schools. The public schools should not be deprived of these tools even it struggles to address basic facility requirements. This is one way to possibly increase the Cohort Survival Rate of schools.

     The teachers will have more energy and drive to encourage their students to maximize their potential without having to worry about a leaking roof, a flooding classroom or generally an uncomfortable and none conducive learning environment. Students also don’t have to miss classes due to poor and defective facilities. It is hard enough for these students to cope with the daily hardships of living given that their parents are not necessarily economically well-off otherwise they would have gone to private schools. The school environment must provide a respite for them so as to achieve maximum educational attainment.