Written by Charrie Joy V. Masculino
Students of Nueva Valencia National High School watching a volleyball game in the school covered court.
The Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) are more than just participants in school meetings. The PTA is the voice of one of the major stakeholders in education: the parents. It contributes to building and maintaining a good learning environment for their children.
As a CheckMySchool coordinator, I was able to sit in the Local School Board (LSB) meetings to voice out the school issues I gathered while monitoring schools. In 2018 alone, I have gathered 227 school issues. The most common issues were the lack of water, electricity, classrooms, and books. But I also encountered unique cases such as a school building built in a landslide-prone area which puts students at risk every day.
Sad to say, not all issues can be resolved by the LSB or even LGUs. Because of budget-related limitations at the provincial level, the majority of our requests were not granted. This is where PTA’s role as a stakeholder in education comes in.
Last year, I was elected president of the Federation in the District of Nueva Valencia – North and this became my platform to encourage PTA presidents to fill the gaps left by the government to improve our schools.
CMS coordinator Charrie Joy Masculino takes photo of the Parent-Teacher Associations general assembly.
One of those who responded was Loren Gallarda, the general PTA president of Nueva Valencia National High School (NVHS). For many years, their school had no water supply. Teachers use their personal money to hire a tricycle to deliver water to the classrooms. Students were also asked to bring water to school so they can use the comfort rooms. According to Gallarda, previous PTAs were reliant in the government’s aid. In his term as president, he wanted to do otherwise.
Gallarda asked for my assistance in convincing his members not just to look into the water supply issue but to consider funding the school water system. The school has three unused water tanks. They just need to raise funds for the construction of deep well with a water pump.
I sat in one of the GPTA meetings and was able to discuss to them the reasons why this particular issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There were concerns raised but eventually, all parents approved the project.
After a few months, the parents were able to raise funds to begin the construction of the deep well. Mayor Emmanuel Galila donated a water pump. The school bought water pipes from their MOOE. As of writing, the construction of the school water system is still ongoing. One finished, it is expected to serve an 8-classroom building.
Construction of deep well in Nueva Valencia National High School for the school water system..
Because the NVHNS GPTA were transparent and able to implement the project, it encouraged the parents and private donors to support other funding activities such as the construction of temporary school perimeter fence to keep students from skipping classes.
Monitoring public schools in Guimaras for CheckMyschool helped me develop my advocacy which is to focus on student welfare. My position as Federation president became a venue for me to tell the parents that the government is not solely responsible to address our school needs. Our children are the direct beneficiaries of the educational institutions that’s why we must work together to ensure that our schools are conducive for learning.
Our contribution to school improvement is also our investment in children’s future. I believe that if there is a better learning environment, students will be inspired to go to school and learn.
I hope that PTAs encourage more parents to be proactive in schools. I also hope that they continue supporting CheckMySchool initiative because we all share a common goal: better public schools for our children.