A Chinese proverb says that while teachers open a door, students must enter it themselves.
In the Philippines, one in every 10 Filipino youth is out of school. Lack of interest and financial problems are among the reasons.
To help address this issue, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) will roll out its Education on Wheels, a mobile-bus classroom offering modular programs to youth in rural and urban areas.
Modular programs, designed to be less laboratory-intensive, will be taught through the converted bus that can also be extended with collapsible tents.
For the pilot class, the following courses will be offered: BSBA Major in Entrepreneurship, BSBA Major in Management, Bachelor in Political Science, Bachelor of Science in Cooperatives, Bachelor in Public Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Office Administration.
“PUP is, and (remains), the largest university in terms of population. We expect that once the Education on Wheels is rolled out, there will be more students who will enroll because the university itself will bring quality education to them,” said Kaya Valila director of PUP’s Communication Management Office.
PUP will seek the help of local government units in identifying and vetting recipients of the program. Other marginalized sectors such as indigenous people, migrant women and persons deprived of liberty are also potential beneficiaries of the program.
PUP plans to extend the reach of the program to more rural areas near its other branches and satellite campuses.
“This year is dedicated to planning. We are looking for donors and partners. We hope that other agencies and private companies realize the university’s vision and goal that is to ensure that everyone will be given a chance and opportunity to study,” Valila added.
The bus will be equipped with state-of-the-art classroom facilities, internet access, 32 desks with provisions for laptops, television and sound system. It is also designed to carry the capacity of 32 students, eight coordinators and one driver.
Aside from Education on Wheels, PUP has institutionalized its “Salin-Kaalaman Tungo sa Kaunlaran” program, a flagship extension project that offers different specialized training and seminars to targeted beneficiaries.
For example, PUP conducted a need-assessment analysis with a partner barangay and found a group of entrepreneurs living in the area. The program will give them training that will aid them in their chosen profession.
By October 2021, PUP plans to enroll 30 out-of-school youth from nearby economically-challenged Manila areas.