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PUP’s school on bus to roll out soon

According to Muhi, the School on Bus program already has more than 80 enrollees before its launch. The program will offer a Bachelor’s degree in Office Administration to minimize the need for laboratory subjects.

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY DINAH SABAL VENTURA FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

A school on bus program by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) could prove to be the solution to bridging the gap between those who “have” and those who “have not,” as well as overcoming the challenges of poverty and exclusion through quality education.

A brainchild of PUP president Manuel “Bong” M. Muhi in partnership with the Daily Tribune, the PUP School on Bus was sponsored by Century Peak Corporation to bring education to “those who cannot afford to go to school to get an education.”

“We are planning to deploy this School on Bus in Baseco,” Muhi said in an interview. “We are already in discussions with local organizations in the community to identify qualified students to enroll in this roving education program. Students enrolled in this program will earn a bachelor’s degree education.”

The Baseco Compound is a poor urban settlement in Manila, where a squatters’ community sprouted while living in dangerous neighborhoods, lacking essential services and infrastructure. The settlements in the compound are often exposed to natural hazards and catastrophic events, their inhabitants constantly exposed to eviction, disease and violence due to their socio-economic living conditions.

THE interior of the bus was reconfigured to become a classroom.

A majority of the residents in the community do not finish a college education, worsening the cycle of poverty.

According to Muhi, the School on Bus program already has more than 80 enrollees before its launch. The program will offer a Bachelor’s degree in Office Administration to minimize the need for laboratory subjects.

“This is a mobile school, with students from poor communities. We want to minimize the requirement for a laboratory so our enrollees could sustain their schooling,” Muhi added.

To become a fully functioning mobile school, the interior of the bus was reconfigured to allow the installation of a study desk, chairs, whiteboard for lectures that can be converted into a white screen for a projector, and individual power outlets to charge mobile devices, like mobile phones or tablets.

Solar panels were installed on top of the bus to save on gas and contribute to the clean energy initiative to supply energy to the power outlets and the audio-visual equipment.

However, the bus still needs a separate generator or keep its engine running to power the air-conditioning.

Daily Tribune publisher and president Willie Fernandez facilitated the donation of the bus and its transfer to PUP as part of the newspaper’s corporate social responsibility and his advocacy to encourage education for all.

Fernandez said access to education could reduce poverty and help individuals acquire basic skills, including writing, reading and arithmetic, which have a documented positive impact on the marginalized sector.

Providing sound and quality education can liberate individuals from poverty, and it can act as a leveler and equalizer within society. The PUP’s School on Bus program is just the start of several units Muhi is planning to deploy in the future to reach the most number of students, even in the remotest parts of the country.

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