|PTCA Helps Unleash Students' Potential in a Sulu Island School|
|Wednesday, 19 November 2008 04:54|
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HADJI PANGLIMA TAHIL, SULU—“Reading takes you anywhere” is painted in large letters on the wall of a tiny school in this municipality, which, in most eyes, would appear to be smack in the middle of nowhere.
Hadji Panglima Tahil consists of a small island cluster surrounded by the waters of the Sulu Sea, a long banca ride away from Jolo on the mainland.
Economically, it is isolated as well: Hadji Panglima Tahil has had the sad distinction of being identified as the poorest municipality in the country, in a National Anti-Poverty Commission report published in 2000.
But on this sunny morning, the children of the Subah Elementary School are centered in a different world—the wider world of scientific understanding and other types of knowledge found in books.
The teacher asks the students what an ecosystem is, and small, eager hands shoot up. She calls on Sharisma Ajing, who stands up and answers crisply and precisely.
Sharisma used to be a withdrawn child, said Linda Tacata, the school principal. “I hardly remember her reciting in class. It was only in Grade 6 that she started to excel,” Tacata recalls.
It was then that the parent-teacher community association (PTCA) was able to provide the school with new books and reference materials, sewing machines for home economics classes, a personal computer with printer, and other multimedia aids.
The PTCA purchased the assorted learning tools with the help of an educational matching grant provided by USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program.