Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kwelang eSkwela in Bulacan

Located on the second floor of Muzon public market in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan is a spacious, air-conditioned room, which, during weekdays, is filled with youths and adults. The room can pass off as a big internet cafe sans noisy multiplayer video game users for computer stations are all lined up against the wall. On the wall in front are pictures, news letter cutouts and a calendar, all these typical of a backside of a regular classroom. The room is, in fact, a classroom, catering up to 20 learners every day. It is not a computer class, though. Learners here learn about math, science, communication, and other topics offered by any regular school – using a computer.

Self paced learning

Forty eight year old Rodolfo Robo sits between two male young learners, both of whom can pass off as his children. After studying a module on food preparation – one of the many modules that can be easily accessed by learners on their computers - Robo answered a post test, probing what he learned after an hour or so of self-paced learning. Instructional manager Czarina Borromeo, seated on her own computer station, checks her learners’ tests, including Robo’s, after they finish. Borromeo then tells Robo how he’s faring in the test, as well as his errors, even in spelling.

Back to school

A tanod head, Robo decided to enroll in the said class to refresh what he has learned in school. As a barangay officer, Robo actually encourages out-of-school youths and adults in his commpunity to enroll in eSkwela. Robo said that it is never too late to finish one’s studies. His classmates Emily Mallari, 31, Flordeliza Dabuet, 36, and Sherilyn Guantero, 20, do agree. Mallari and Dabuet both dropped out of high school. Guantero, on the other hand, only finished fourth grade. For these women, even with marriage and children, enrolling in eSkwela can help them achieve their goals, such as obtaining a diploma, getting into college, and as simple as helping their school aged kids with their homeworks.

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