I.Norte to achieve MDG target on education in 2015

LAOAG CITY – One of the main thrusts of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte’s Millennium Development Goals is to ensure that all children, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. In doing so, the vision of primary education to be extended to children in all corners of the province will be achieved.

The Provincial Education Department (PED) was instituted in 2010 to see to it that the effort on educating more children and reaching- out for a quality basic education is achieved province wide.

“The learning process in basic education is critical, because it assures the basic building blocks that will prepare our children to take on higher education or the chance for immediate employment after graduation,” PED Head Jeanette Dials said.

In 2011 alone, the number of scholars had dramatically increased to nearly 10, 000 elementary pupils, high school, and college students from that of 6, 000 in 2010. Thus, the provincial government has set aside at least P6 million to finance the scholars’ stipends, tuition fees, and other school needs.

“The numbers indicate that the provincial government ensures significant funding support not only to meet our Millennium Development Goals in basic education but also to help the children and our youth achieve their full potential,” she added.

Since its inception in 2010, the PED which acknowledged that equal access to education is the foundation for all other development goals has also focused on basic educational facilities by constructing classrooms in areas experiencing acute classroom shortage.

Last year, the provincial government has built 13 bungalow- type with two classroom primary and elementary school buildings in the remote areas of Ilocos Norte apart from hundreds of school repairs it undertook since 2010.

“Our efforts in bringing education even to far flung areas brought us positive results. Both public and private schools recently registered in 2011 an increase of 6, 379 and 2, 086 enrolees respectively,” Dials continued.

The numbers which indicate an increase of 23.57% in 2011 from that of 11.21% of enrolees in 2010 are composed of high school, elementary, and kindergartens.

For 2012, the PED plans to intensify the scholarship program for college students, provide more free transportation means to and from the different schools, and focus more on the National Assessment Test review and preparations of the schools in Ilocos Norte.

Furthermore, the provincial government is set to screen 450 TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) grantees who will be trained in different technical and vocational courses scheduled to begin this month.

“This year, the PED also plans to sponsor English proficiency for teachers, provide incentives and continue the Saguip Maestra program, and institutionalize awards for deserving pupils and students including teachers. With all this preparations on deck, Ilocos Norte is relatively moving closer to achieve the MDG target on education in 2015,” Jeanette Dials added. (Florante A. Nicolas, PGIN- CMO)