Never in the history of the town, the ECCD Program was given this much attention. Faced with different challenges such as: 1. the lack of a standard curriculum; 2. class size; 3. lack of standards and training among practicioners; and 4. conducive facilities; 5. Absence of a clear-cut health and nutrition program; and 6. the differing views of stakeholders.
From the start, even before Mayor Ferdie formally assumed into office, he already called for a meeting of the Public Education Cluster to listen to the most pressing issues it is facing. He knew people’s mindset on education had to be defined on the side of his vision that there is no better way to alleviate conditions but through quality education. While, the public education sector in Baliwag considerably can be qualified as performing and responsive, the government must fulfill its obligations to the people to provide equal opportunities including early childhood education especially that, 3 years old is one of the most important age for any child when the brain develops rapidly. This formative age is quite important to miss. He knew he had to tap Synergeia to strengthen school governing councils and help him change paradigms. He also tapped experts from the private sector like Dr. Alice Bustos Orosa of Little Campus/NorthBend, Maria Cristina Santos Silamor of Montessori de Sagrada, Dr. Rey Cruz of LaCo, Dr. Andy Cruz of ICM and Mr Arvin Darcen.
The transformation will not be easy. To begin with, many of the current practicioners have very strong attachments to their centers and the Barangay leaders, at least some of them. When a person has reached the level of comfort it so desires, usually, effecting changes are difficult to impose. There are Considerations to be made like political and even the most mundane of things.
There are flaws to be corrected like how the nutrition program was not given much attention, much as health was not integrated.
After the request to delay the program for a year, the moment is unfolding, and as expected not without complexities.
But many parents believed in the new system and stormed the centers with a Recorded student registration of 2400, or about 27% from the previous year’s registration. It may be attributed to an early announcement made that there will be no registration fee, no textbooks to pay innstead students will get free shirt, free worktextbook and a standardized curriculum.
Now, with this unprecedented rise in the enrolment, Mayor Ferdie seemed to be enjoying the problem and now He has plans to scout for houses that can be rented to accomodate the enrollees.
The number of teachers have also increased following the limit of 30 students in each class. In the case of Virgen delas Flores, he already found a house to be rented while, in Makinabang, Brgy. Capt. Cory Clemente volunteered a spacious second floor. The ECCD Secretariat is scouting for houses in Sulivan, San Jose and Tarcan to increase their centers to two.
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