Kariton Klasrum Program goes nationwide

As part of the effort in promoting inclusive education nationwide, the Department of Education (DepEd) is replicating the Dynamic Teen Company's (DTC) Kariton Klasrum made popular by CNN Hero awardee Efren Penaflorida, Jr. By expanding the project nationwide, DepEd and its partners intend to address the needs of hard-to-reach learners and out-of-school children and youth (OSCYs).

The program provides greater mobility for children-at-risk, OSCYs, and school drop-outs in accessing basic education through the Alternative Delivery Modes (ADM) program of DepEd. Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC said, “This project aims to have a 100% reintegration rate of the beneficiaries into mainstream or regular schools. Just as we accommodate the unique needs of indigenous peoples and special learners, we also try to fit our modes of delivery to the unique conditions of children at-risk, especially those in the streets."

According to Peñaflorida, there are already a total of 84 ongoing Kariton Klasrum sites. He explains that the goal of the program is to get the children back to school. “Hindi ito replacement sa regular classroom. Ang gusto namin ay ma-entice silang mag-aral ulit.” After three months under the Kariton Klasrum Program, the students will be evaluated for school-readiness. “We are never too strong to do things on our own. Your presence now secures our future. It is very important,” he added.

DepEd Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario A. Deriquito said that a total number of 106 Kariton Klasrum sites is the target for NCR. He then posed the challenge of reaching out to the farthest areas and “to look for those who have been overlooked.”

Deriquito also invited partners to help in the program and said, “We encourage companies, organizations, and individuals to support the Kariton Klasrum Program. We need help in providing students’ school supplies, storybooks, and daily feeding programs as well as teacher's kits, slippers, hygiene kits and vitamins. Volunteers for the projects activities are likewise invited to join.”

Prior to the implementation of the program, a full assessment of project sites, a mapping and validation of children at risk on the streets will be done by DepEd in coordination with DSWD and barangay LGUs, who will also provide "tanods" (watchmen) in the project sites to ensure security. To date, there have already been 27 initial areas which were identified as new Kariton Klasrum sites. DTC is tasked with training volunteers and monitoring the program implementation, while DepEd takes care of the curriculum and the program implementation per se.

Luistro added that it should not be the children who will adjust to the education system but the other way around. He also invited everyone to “learn from the children at-risk in streets” and said, “Sana matuto tayo sa mga batang nasa lansangan at makita nating marami pa tayong dapat matutuhan, kasama nila.”

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