Gusto ko ring mag-aral

249007_10151466084911452_192997400_nDalawampu’t apat na oras na buhat nang lumapag ang aking eroplano sa Pilipinas. Kababalik ko lang mula sa Ireland para mag-aral. At ngayon mas sigurado ako na gusto ko pang mag-aral.

Bukas babalik na ako sa tunay buhay. Hindi para mag-aral pero para umaksyon base sa aking mga natutunan. Matutulog na sana ako ng maaga para maaga rin akong makarating sa opisina. Pero tila ba sinadya ng langit na gisingin pa ako upang mapanood ko ang palabas ngayon sa ABS-CBN, ang “Gusto kong mag-aral”.

Ang “Gusto kong mag-aral” ay isang dokumentaryo patungkol sa sitwasyon ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas partikular na sa malalayong lugar na hindi madaling naaabot. Ilan sa mga istoryang ipinakita ay ang pagtawid ng mga estudyante sa ilog at paglalakad ng ilang kilometro makarating lamang sa paaralan. Hindi lamang estudyante ang ipinakita pero maging ang mga guro na nagsasakripisyo maturuan lamang ang mga kabataan. Hindi ito kaiba sa mga istorya ng mga paaralang napupuntahan namin sa Checkmyschool. Nariyan ang mga eskwelahang iilan lamang ang libro, mga binabahang classroom, at mga gurong ginagamit ang sarili nilang pera para lang may pang-pamasahe ang mga estudyante nila papasok sa eskwela.

Ako’y  naiyak sa aking napanood. Magandang pangbati ito para sa aking pagbabalik sa Pilipinas. Isang paalala ng aking misyon na tumulong mapabuti ang edukasyon sa bansa. Ilang araw bago ako lumisan ng Pilipinas, tinatanong ko ang sarili ko at ang diyos kung ito nga ba ang dapat kong patunguhan. Nakakapagod at maraming kailangang isakripisyo. Pinili kong hindi ituloy ang ilang aplikasyon para mag-aral sa ibang bansa dahil hindi ko maiwan ang Checkmyschool. Mukha hindi naman ako nagkamali sa aking desisyon bagaman hindi ko parin isinasantabi ang ilang personal na balakin. Gusto kong mag-aral, oo. Pero gusto ko ring makapag-aral ng maayos ang mga kabataan ng bayan ko.

Iba ang motibasyon ko sa pag-aaral kumpara sa mga ipinakita sa doku. Noong bata ako, gusto kong mag-aral kasi gusto kong matututo; gusto kong magkaroon ng kasagutan sa mga tanong ko. Noong medyo tumanda na ako, gusto kong mag-aral para maabot ko ang mga pangarap ko; para mabili ko ang mga gusto ko. Puro ako, hanggang sa dumating ako kolehiyo.

Hindi ako nakaranas mag-aral sa pampublikong paaralan o makapasok man lang sa pampublikong paaralan hanggang pumasok ako sa UP. Kumpara sa pampublikong paaralan na elementary at sekondarya, mas mabuti na ang kalagayan ng UP lalo na sa Unibersidad ng Korea kung saan rin ako nag-aral. Hindi ko kailangang tumawid sa ilog para makarating doon. May sapat namang mga upuan at may mga ilaw naman sa mga silid. Hindi nga lang ganoon kataas ang sahod ng mga guro sa UP kaya may ilang magagaling na gurong lumilisan. Sa maraming pagkakataon, kailangan mong magpaphotocopy ng libro na kakailanganin mo. May ilang banyo rin na marurumi at mga kompyuter na niluma na ng panahon.

Abandoned classroom at Burias ESMas nakita ko ang tunay na larawan ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas mula sa mga pagtuturo na ginagawa namin sa mga pampublikong eskwelahan. Higit ko pa itong naunawaan mula sa mga pag-iikot naming ginawa sa Checkmyschool. Mga sira o kulang na palikuran, kulang na libro, mga estudyanteng nakaupo sa lapag, at mga silid-aralang basam-basa sa tuwing uulan. Ilan lamang ito sa mga larawan ng kalagayan ng serbisyo ng edukasyon natin sa Pilipinas. Iba pang kwento ang kalagayan ng mga eskwelahang laging dinaraanan ng bagyo at nadadamay sa gulo sa Mindanaw.

Hindi bago ang mga ganitong kwento ng kakulangan sa mga gamit sa eskwela at mga sakripisyo para lang makapag-aral. Pero sa tuwing nakikita at naririnig ko ito, hindi ko maiwasang mapaluha.  Nakakapagod at parang walang katapusan. Minsan parang gusto mo nalang sumuko. Pero sa tuwing maririnig mo sa mga batang gustong mag-aral kahit  ano pa man ang pagdaanan, sino ako para magreklamo? Sa tuwing makikita mo kung gaano kahirap ang ginagawa ng mga dakilang guro makapagturo lang sa mga bundok, isla, at liblib na lugar, anong nagawa ko kumpara sa kanila para mapagod?

Gusto kong mag-aral. Mahal ko ang karunungan. Gusto ko ring magturo bilang isang guro.  Alam kong ang magkaroon ng mabuting serbisyo sa paaralan at makatapos sa pag-aaral ang kanilang mga estudyante ang gusto ng mga gurong aking napanood. Gusto kong makatulong sa kanila sa bagay na iyon.

Gusto ng mga kabataang ipinakita at hindi ipinakita sa dokumentaryo na gusto nilang mag-aral. Hindi ko maipapangakong matutulungan sila sa pagpapaikli ng daan para mas madali silang makapunta sa paaralan. Pero baka pwede kaming makatulong bilang boses nila sa pamamagitan ng Checkmyschool. Baka pwede kaming makatulong sa pagpapakita ng kalagayan ng ibang mga paaralan sa malalayong lugar. Hindi ko ito magagawa mag-isa kung kaya’t maghahanap ako ng mga kasama. Sa pamamagitan ng blog na ito, sana maipaabot ko sa iba na pwede rin silang tumulong. Kung hindi man bilang kasama namin sa Checkmyschool pero baka pwede rin sa pamamagitan ng ibang proyekto.

Kung lahat tayo ay magtutulong-tulong, walang imposible. Pwede nating matulungan ang mga nagtuturo at ang mga gustong mag-aral.

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Global Changemaker at the Clinton Global Initiative

“I stepped into this meeting very nervous because I’m surrounded by global leaders who are already experts in their field. But I still went on because I know that it’s not about the age but the goal to make a change”, this was my introductory speech before pitching Checkmyschool in the youth for development session during the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, held in New York last 23-25 September 2012.

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was created by President Bill Clinton in 2005 in an effort to translate ideas into action. Participants of the meeting analyzed pressing global challenges, discussed effective solutions, and built lasting partnerships for social change. Some of the critical issues discussed were how to provide reliable and safe energy to those in need, how to provide affordable and accessible internet technology, and how to ensure food security for the coming years.

This year’s Annual Meeting gathered global leaders from the government, NGO, private sector, and academe. Present in the meeting were Pres. Barack Obama of USA, Ban Ki-moon of UN, and Jim Yong Kim of World Bank Group. As for me, I was able to have a personal talk with amazing personalities such as Pres. Bill Clinton, Craig Kielburger of Save the Children, and Prof. Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank (see complete schedule and list of speakers here: http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/ourmeetings/2012/).

It was a different environment to be in a meeting where you are surrounded by global leaders and famous personalities. There’s a required confidence from the inside and certainty on what you have to say. Talking to them, especially to those you see on TV, was like being on stage and saying your speech multiple times. It may be just me, but being overwhelmed is an understatement.

Overwhelmed and overjoyed – describes my feeling of being in the CGI Annual meeting. Everyone was very inspiring. Each has a story that runs through time and borders. One fascinating story was from Katie Stagliano, 14, a CGI Global Citizen Awardee, who started gardens to supply soup kitchens to alleviate hunger (http://www.katieskrops.com/). Talk about age and commitment.

Commit

The commitment I put forward in CGI is Checkmyschool, a project which combines technology and community mobilization to improve education services in public schools. In my commitment, I placed particular emphasis in creating impact by helping schools in solving their issues. This can be done by providing schools the access to information (i.e. informing them of the services they supposed to receive), a platform for sending feedback, and bringing in multiple stakeholders especially governments’ commitment to solve the issues. Through the help of CGI, I am hoping of getting more support – publicity, technical, and resource.

Directly related to this advocacy of promoting transparency and accountability in the education sector is the need for accessible and affordable to technology.

One of the sessions I attended was the Barriers to Information Access. Here we discussed the need to make access to information technology a right, rather than a privilege. Gone are those days that technology, such as internet and mobile phones, are considered a luxury. It is the job of the government to create policies that will make information technology accessible and affordable for everyone.  One of the things that we have agreed to commit in this session was to create an alliance which will work on pushing the governments to make information technology as one of their top priorities.

Get it on Twitter

Youth comprises the largest sector of social media users. Since I am one of the young blood in the Annual Meeting, it is just obvious that I am one of those who sent the most number of Tweets. I am not really a regular user of Twitter, but I often use it when there are events that I would like to broadcast. I got new followers because of my CGI Tweets but what’s more motivating are the messages are retweeted and recognized my people especially by my fellow changemakers.

Here are some interesting tweets that I shared:

  • In a place where bad things happen, you should make more good things to happen – Clinton #cgi2012
  • You never become. You are becoming. – Grashow #CGI2012
  • There can only be change if people expect change. – Charles Denson
  • “Your life isn’t the one you live but the one you remember.” – Luis Moreno, #CGI2012 awardee, quoting Gabriel Marquez
  • We don’t open doors at the expense of other doors. There should be balance. –Pres. Morsi of Egypt #CGI2012 @BCGlobalChange

Check out my Twitter for more #CGI2012 tweets: https://twitter.com/JecelC.

Inspire

One of the tweets I love was from Tawakel Karman, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, “The development of a nation is not just the responsibility of the people in that country, but a responsibility of the world”. I believe this was the same reason why I was selected to become a member of CGI. I know  that it is not just because of Checkmyschool, but because it is my responsibility as part of the world, as part of the global youth, to help in the development of the nations by sharing the learning and opportunities I got from CGI.

Moving beyond the CGI Annual Meeting, I believe that it is just right to make sure that something will really happen from the commitments we placed on the table. These include Checkmyschool and the technology alliance that we are forming.

Provided that I secure permission from my fellow members to share their contact details, I think that it will also be good to link my fellow changemakers to them.  The technical expertise, experience, network, and resources from some CGI members, will be very helpful to my fellow youth in advancing their advocacies.

Lastly is sharing the learning and experience that I got from CGI. There are a lot of things that happened in the 3-day meeting, much more on what happened before and after the annual meeting. I am very fortunate to have been selected as the youngest and only Filipino. As a sign of gratitude, I can only promise to inspire others by doing something to make things better. Might this be through teaching, sharing of knowledge, or actual actions, I would be willing to share anything I can as member of CGI (http://www.clintonglobalinitiative.org/).

I would like to thank the Global Changemakers for bringing me to CGI. Special mention to Fran, Kath and Jen, who have been always supportive and responsive on everything. Thank you to CGI for selecting me as a member. Special mention to Penny, Julian, Sara, Elyse, and of course, Pres. Clinton.

I would also like to thank my fellow Global Changemakers and the rest of the youth who never get tired. May the universe continue to conspire to make our dreams larger than our fears and doubts.