The number of illiterate Filipinos continues to rise even if the Philippine government claims it remains committed to giving highest priority to the adoption of measures for the total eradication of illiteracy in the country. In 2009, this number has grown to 15 million and is expected to increase further. Although the Philippine government has been allocating the largest share of the national budget to education, still the Philippines has made slow progress in improving the quality of education in the country. On the contrary, the quality of education has declined over the years and ranks among the poorest performers in East Asia and the rest of the world in terms of quality education. This is according to a study on the Philippine education sector funded by USAID in 2011. This problem can be attributed to several reasons but obviously the main cause of the low literacy level in the country is poverty.
According to the report released on February 8, 2011 by National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), there are about 23.1 million Filipinos or about 20.9% of the total population who are living below the poverty line. These are the same people who could not afford to send their children to school because they do not have enough resources for the daily transportation and “baon” of their children, the quarterly projects and miscellaneous expenses. In the case of other parents, they would rather have their children work as street vendors or “mangangalakal” (collecting and selling recyclable materials) than go to school so they could help finance the family’s needs. This is also the top-most reason why there are about 1,460,000 Filipino pre-school age children (aged 3-5 years) who are not enrolled in school in 2009 (www.tradingeconomics.com). It is not the priority of the parents to send their young children to pre-school.
Recognizing the significant and long-lasting difference education can make on the lives of children, especially those who are experiencing poverty, the Philippine government has enacted the following laws: PD 1567 (1978) “The Barangay Day Care Center Law”, RA 6972 (1987) “The Barangay Level Total Development and Protection of Children Act”, EO 310 (2000) “Child 21” and RA 8980 ‘Early Childhood Care and Development Act” or ECCD law.
In response to the call of the government for non-government, not-for-profit organizations to support the ECCD program, and with our organization’s commitment to help enhance the holistic development of young children, Amazing Grace World Mission Foundation Inc. (AGWMFI) proposes to implement an Early Childhood Care and Development Program (ECCD) for underprivileged children aged 3 to 5 years old living in Brgy. Gulod Malaya, San Mateo, Rizal. Although the ECCD law covers children aged 0-5 years old, our proposed program will only cover the pre-school age (3-5 years old) and greater focus will be on the educational needs of these children.
The proposed ECCD program will benefit the poor and underprivileged children living in Barangay Gulod Malaya, one of the 15 barangays in San Mateo, Rizal. The current chairman of the barangay is Captain Josef Roland Balbido and the SK Chairman is Princess Grace Barroa. Brgy. Gulod Malaya has approximately 8,000 residents. The residential areas within the barangay are either a private subdivision or a community of informal settlers. There are three private subdivisions namely, Bancom Subd., Marvi Hills Subd. and Vista Hermosa Subd. The other half of the barangay is composed of communities of informal settlers – Laylayan, Valleyview, some parts of Vista and Looban site which is a relocation site. Although San Mateo is classified as a first-class municipality, a survey of Brgy. Gulod Malaya would show that it is an underdeveloped area in...