22 February 2007

QUEEN Project: To leave no child behind

THIS AFTERNOON, the city government formally launched the QUEEN Initiative (shorthand for Quality Universal Elementary Education in Naga) at the city gymnasium. Mayor Jesse Robredo fielded questions about the project from school heads, PTA representatives, barangay officials and other stakeholders.

Is this a one-time thing? Actually, this is the most common question in all school level meetings attended by the mayor so far. The answer is no: the driving force behind the program is the poor holding power of our public schools (only 67 of those who enter Grade I go on to finish Grade VI), and successfully addressing this problem will require time, resources and commitment from the city government, the Division of City Schools and the 37 schools under its wing, the PTAs, the barangay officials and other stakeholders, particularly the individual parents.

This project brief provides more information on the role each sector will play.

How will the city government ensure its sustainability? Vice Mayor Gabby Bordado was on hand, together with Atty. Nelson Legacion, the city legal officer, and Nathan Sergio, the secretary to the mayor (both of whom are bruited to have the inside track in filling in the four slots in the Sanggunian ticket that will be vacated by retiring councilors). All of them committed to institutionalize the QUEEN Initiative through an ordinance, mandating the School Board, among others, to allocate the required funding in its annual budget.

I am very happy that we have reached this far. It also goes to show that the initiative overcame the bureaucratic roadblocks it faced, which I ranted about here.


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