The season of giving swiftly passed by but the memories that we had in our first Adopt-a-School Outreach program will forever linger in our minds as a calling and a reminder of responsiblecitizenry, a gentle imitation of Christ’s formidable quality.
In the previous years, Development of the Philippines’ typical year-ender always included anoutreach program in a chosen charitable institution. In 2018, however, we wanted to contribute something that will have a longer effect to society. We sought partnership with Department of Education’s 20-year old project which anchors on improving the facilities and the quality of learning materials and equipment of identified public elementary or secondary schools.
This project is related to the bank’s CSR launched as DBP Resources for Inclusive and Sustainable Education (RISE) which aims to send to college less fortunate but deserving youths. As a parent and a banker, I believe that education is still the best heritage we can give to the future generation of our nation.
DepEd’s Adopt-A-School Program (ASP) is envisioned to provide a “structure pathway” for partnership between public schools and community of supporters from both public and private sector. They also havea monitoring and evaluation system that assess the progress and performance of the beneficiary school. In this case, T. S. Cruz High School was recommended to be our partner beneficiary. This school is notable because it was favorably endorsed by the Las Piñas Division of City Schools among the 12 public schools in the city with estimated population of 1,711 and was awarded two times as “Best Innovative Implementor of Brigada Eskwela”.
Given the choices on what to provide our beneficiary school, we considered the warning from the Asian Development Bank that “without the skills to fully realize the benefits of ICT, the digital divide becomes an even bigger information literacy divide”. The ADB emphasized that “a key aspect of a knowledge economy is an information-literate and ICT-capable labor force”.
And so, on December 19, 2018, we visited T. S. Cruz High School and withessed the joy of anticipation from the faculty and student body. We brought smile to their faces by firming up our commitment to donate computers sets and flat screen televisions which will become new tools of intruction so that the students can adapt to this era’s digitization and technology age. We also pledged to install a new stainless water tank to ensure sufficient amount of water for daily consumption and sanitation of the school. And as starters, we distributed 300 backpacks filled with school supplies as holiday treats from us to inspire the youngsters do better at school.
In the following months, we look forward to installing the promised equipments and view the desired outcomes of this initial investment. We also want to exhaust other avenues of collaboration, such asfaculty training and development recognizing that technology does not substitute for well-trained teachers.
Our partnership with T.S. Cruz High School aims for “uncommon results” in our quest “to protect and promote the right of every Filipino to quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education”. We now aim to make sure our giving is purposive and sustainable.
(Benel D. Lagua is Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of the Philippines. He is an active FINEX member and a long time advocate of risk-based lending for SMEs. The views expressed herein are his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his office as well as FINEX.) [email protected]