Recent years have seen great strides towards improving access to primary education in developing countries through effective legislation working hand-in-hand with the efforts of local and international non-governmental organizations and other institutions. More children and youth around the world are enrolling and staying in school, reflecting higher literacy rates across the board as reported by the United Nations Development Programme. However, we are far from making education truly free and accessible, as children from poor households are still up to four times less likely to be in school compared to children from richer households. In 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority report that nine percent of Filipinos aged 6-24 years old were out-of-school children and youth (OSCY). This number translates to 3.53 million Filipino youth who are not in school, 83% of whom are aged 16-24 years old. Family matters, lack of personal interest, and the high cost of education are cited as the main reasons for not attending school.
The School on A Bus project aims to augment this disparity in access to education experienced by lower-income households by bringing the school right on their doorsteps. Outfitted with a kid-friendly classroom design complete with a mini library, audio-visual educational materials, art room, and school supplies, the School on A Bus will cater to students of all ages. Trained and licensed elementary and high school teachers will conduct lessons on basic reading and writing for both English and Filipino, while there will be basic arithmetic and algebra lessons for mathematics. Science classes will be conducted with special emphasis on the environment, especially in rural areas, to better understand the world around them while incorporating fundamental concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics. Art classes will be conducted using different types of media as well. Appropriate recognition will also be rewarded to students to further cultivate their personal interest in attending school. At the same time, seminars will be conducted for the parents of OSCYs to better understand how obtaining an education can benefit their children’s futures and that of their individual families and communities. On-board counselors will also assist parents and children in preparing to enroll in nearby schools.
Gold Rush Humanitarian will bring the School on A Bus on a tour through the regions with the least functional literacy rate in the country, particularly those in Western and Central Mindanao. Local school officials will also be consulted regarding any specific needs for certain communities. Focused on bringing lasting change to the lives of out-of-school children and youth, the School on A Bus project will also donate school supplies, books, uniforms, laboratory materials, and other school equipment to educational institutions in the communities it will visit. If education for all is something you are personally interested in supporting, click here.
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