Education has always been thought of as one of the answers to the problem of poverty. An educated citizenry makes a progressive nation. Governments invest money to educate their people. Thus, in every poverty alleviation program in the world, there is an educational component.
The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is not an entirely education initiative. It is primarily a welfare program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development with education as only one of its components.
It is a laudable program that, as the World Bank said, has helped ensure the enrollment and attendance of children in school.
But the program must be sustainable and not teach people to be dependent all the time.
School attendance is a part of it, but it shouldn’t stop there. The student may be present physically, but somewhere else mentally. Thus, attendance is useless and irrelevant.
There has to be a strategy that will truly propel the beneficiaries toward improved cognitive skills. There has to be a mechanism to assess and reassess how learning is taking place. Education cannot just be an add-on to the program; the government must put value on education in the 4Ps.
It doesn’t have to be in academics all the time. There are other areas that the 4Ps beneficiaries, their guardians, and their teachers can explore — arts, athletics, and vocational.
The question really is, how can 4Ps be used to also ensure that the education being given is of good quality and will help break chronic poverty among the beneficiaries so they can truly help in nation-building? How can education play a more transformative role in the 4Ps so that the money, effort, and time will truly be called educational investments?
If our intention is to use 4Ps for the development of our human resources and our country in the next few years, it would be helpful to strengthen literacy rates by building and boosting the cognitive skills of beneficiaries. This can be done by promoting programs that tap their talents and skills, and involve them in helping their communities.
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