A day to celebrate?

The International Day of Education is a day which should celebrate the availability and accessibility of education in the modern-day world. In many parts of the world, this is the case, however, NGOs such as us who specialise in education for all see a very different side of this celebratory day, even under normal circumstances. The arrival of the pandemic, however, meant huge educational changes had to take place in many of our schools, particularly, in the Philippines, India, South Africa and Mexico. Schools have been temporarily closed “to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce infections” (UNESCO 2020). The shutdown of educational institutions has affected more than “1.2 billion learners worldwide with more than 28 million learners in the Philippines alone” (UNESCO, 2020). 

Home schooling under challenging conditions


Imagine an empty virtual classroom. A teacher waits for his class to arrive punctually for their 9 o’clock lesson. However, in the Philippines, many children who go to schools will never turn up to that lesson because they have access to neither electricity, a computer nor an Internet connection at home. This is what life is like for a typical child at the San Roque Elementary School in the Philippines. The impact of abject poverty on these children is startling. Not only do they not have access to the technological advances which have transformed the educational world for others, they cannot even ask their teacher a question, if they don’t understand the material set out in their worksheets.


These worksheets cannot be posted due to an unreliable postage system. So the teachers have to travel to villages or towns to visit children in person. Once or twice a week the children can pick up their worksheets. This does give the children an opportunity to ask questions but it leaves limited time to explain the content of the lessons. What we are beginning to see here is a profound logistical challenge, both for the children, their parents or guardians and for the teachers involved. The most the children have access to is their own parents’ perhaps limited knowledge (they may even be illiterate) and the chance to spend a short time once a week sat with their teacher in a small group at one of the children’s houses. 

Stay with us - What can you do to help?


The impact of this situation is far more alarming than it may at first appear. Yes, of course, the children will come up with their own creative solutions to these issues, perhaps by forming small study groups or similar. Many positive, heartfelt moments will be produced as a result of the circumstances. However, the most dramatic outcome will be that our children at the San Roque Elementary School will miss out on an entire year of schooling. The CFF, naturally, does its best to intervene, however possible, but our inability to travel, provide extra funds and be a presence even virtually makes things very difficult. These children’s parents are surviving on minimal income since the pandemic began. Hand-to-mouth existence has been made all but impossible. This is why we’re asking for your help. Because, without donations, we cannot up our game and do more for these children. A year’s education may not seem like a lot to many, but, for these children, who don’t have educated parents in many cases, this education proves the only way out of extreme poverty. Can you do something to help?