The classroom is a learner’s home away from home. It becomes home to learning, growth, and discovery.
Safe and conducive learning environments are critical for a learner’s development and growth. As schools are gearing up for face-to-face learning once again, classrooms and school buildings need an upgrade.
To provide more spaces of learning in the Municipality of San Remigio, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. through its Education Development Unit (RAFI EDU) turned over two new three-story school buildings to two schools – Dapdap Elementary School and Mano Integrated School. These new school buildings will benefit over 300 students.
This collaborative infrastructure program, in partnership with the local government unit of the Municipality of San Remigio, and the Department of Education aims to replace the old classrooms with better and safer learning spaces.
For Juvelyn Cabatana, Grade 5 teacher and one of the occupants of the new building in Dapdap Elementary School, the new school building was truly an answered prayer. She shared how this new and efficient learning environment will address the limitations and difficulties in teaching and learning. “We’re very happy when we heard RAFI will give this (school building), because one of our major problems here in our school is lack of classrooms,” she explained.
As the number of students rises, resources like classrooms were spread very thinly in Dapdap Elementary school. Four classes do not have their own classrooms and were forced to occupy makeshift classrooms, and even tents, to continue providing and supplementing learning for the students.
“We are so blessed because we were chosen as one of the beneficiaries of this building. (…) When the DILG visited our school they advised us to vacate the building (PTA building) but we didn’t have any choice because we had no other classrooms, and we even had to utilize our school clinic. (…) One building (was) divided into three nga not spacious and conducive for learning,” Cabatana narrated.
Students from grades four to six of Dapdap Elementary School can look forward to a new learning environment, ready to welcome them for some fun learning. The teachers on the other hand, can now easily create an encouraging and positive atmosphere for their students. Thus, shaping more students equipped with the knowledge they need as they move up another year.
On the other hand, the possibility of more junior high school enrollees or transferees from other schools and their neighboring barangays is what Lomer Makipig, Grade 8 teacher from Mano Integrated School foresees after the completion of their new school building. Taking inspiration from their humble beginnings in establishing the school, Makipig is glad that they finally have a better learning environment.
Like Dapdap Elementary School, the situation in Mano Integrated School was no different. Junior high school students took their classes in makeshift classrooms before the pandemic started. Teachers and students occupied other small empty rooms and one classroom made of light materials.
“Manghulam mi ug classroom. Ang usa ka classroom gi tunga namo due to the scheduling caused by COVID. A child has limitations in terms of movement and participation in the teaching and learning process because they are occupying another classroom. Dili kaayo sila kapagawas kaayo sa ilang mga talents tungod kay gamay ang classroom. Ang mga bata makafeel pod na luoya namo wala mi classroom,” Makipig shared. This situation has been difficult not only for learning but also during school activities like card distribution.
Just in time for the opening of another school year, Makipig shared how the new classrooms and their design will positively impact and aid students to focus and absorb more lessons and topics. It will also be easier for teachers to implement versatile teaching strategies and effectively reach and teach their students.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” as the saying goes, which holds true with this school building turnover. RAFI EDU together with its partner barangays, government agencies, and stakeholders were able to raise the morale of the current students creating ripples of hope not only for them but also the future generations to come. With grateful hearts, the students and teachers at both schools committed themselves to maintaining and sustaining the classrooms — greeting the new school year with smiles and dedication to provide quality and safe education for all.
Since 2004, RAFI EDU has been rehabilitating classrooms and providing school facilities for schools in Cebu. As of 2020, 2,040 classrooms have been built, benefiting 70,000 learners each year. For more information and updates, visit our website at https://www.rafi.org.ph/.