alanga’s city government faced validators from the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) on August 23 and 24, as the city vies for the 2016 National Literacy Award (NLA).
The NLA aims to recognize best practices in learning, especially those that bring better quality of life among the grassroot communities. Balanga City would be included in the NLA’s Hall of Fame if it could bag the award again this year.
The validators visited Balanga City and toured the proposed University Town area. The validators were Department of Education Undersecretary Dina Ocampo, Dr. Emelyn Q. Libunao, Ms. Rogeneth P. Llanos, Mr. Edicio dela Torre, and Ms. Maria Teresa Manlolo. Ocampo acted as chairman of the board of validators.
They paid particular attention to the Pocket Parks and the interactive kiosks that are housed therein. The kiosks are permanent fixtures along the proposed University Town area. Aside from going around the city, the validators also visited public schools to observe how Balanga’s teachers facilitate daily instruction.
The LCC was formally created in November 1991 as a response to United Nations’ call to shift global attention to education. Even prior to the Philippines’ initiative to recognize LCC, the United Nations has already declared that it aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2000.
Now, high-ranking educational leaders, especially the undersecretaries of various government agencies and Sen. Edgardo Angara, head the LCC.
Before the validators left Balanga City on August 24, they attended a series of presentations at City Hall.
The table presentation kicked off with Mr. Rodolfo De Mesa’s presentation of Project Duke. Project Duke, one of the city’s pioneer educational programs, aims to bring back out-of-school youth to a new kind of learning environment.
According to Mr. De Mesa, the City Education and Excellence Office gathered out-of-school youth and trained them as mentors of other young Balangueños. They were given opportunities to use electronic devices, especially in perusing reading materials.
The validators lauded the city government’s effort to attract out-of-school youth saying such a project entails a great deal of planning and resolve.
Ms. Nenette B. Santos, City Management Information Services Officer, presented the City of Balanga Information Hub (COBiH), the city’s breakthrough initiative that involves electronic kiosks.
The validators commented that such kiosks could never be found elsewhere in the Philippines. They also encouraged the city government to further expand the contents of the kiosks so that there may be more educational materials that can be accessed by Balangueños even along the streets.
Aside from Project Duke and COBiH, the city government presented other educational programs which are being sustained by the current administration. By Arli Joshua B. Atienza