Local leaders from all over the country, Synergeia champions for education, gathered for the 14th Washington SyCip National Education Summit held March 25-26, 2021 with the theme “Learning from our Best to Defy Gravity.”
Synergeia’s first virtual summit gathered close-to a hundred engaged communities dedicated to pushing a “bottom-up” approach to raising the quality of basic education in the country.
The panel discussion, “Transforming Ourselves and Education,” had Mayors Geefre Alonsabe of Alimodian (Iloilo), Gila Garcia of Dinalupihan (Bataan), and Vico Sotto of Pasig City share their “gravity-defying” efforts to engage communities in providing children the best possible learning experiences amidst the limitations imposed by the pandemic.
Sotto pointed out that effective communication is crucial to rally support for the local government’s programs. “Maaring maganda ang programa, maganda ang ginagawa ng pamahalaan, pero kung hindi alam ng tao, minsan balewala din. When you are in a time of crisis, napakaimportante ang nagkakaisa tayo at nakikiisa ang mga tao sa gawain ng lokal na pamahalaan.”
Garcia considered a long-term, evidence-based approach to identifying the potential of children and having all stakeholders collaborate to create an environment for “each child to dream” and to pursue those dreams. “There is a saying that a child cannot wait. We cannot say stop, huwag ka munang lumaki… wala pa akong pambili ng gatas…ng libro. Hindi pa ready yung school.” She also cited the critical interplay of academic, health, and social factors in forming children to become good persons and good citizens.
Alonsabe urged for more innovative approaches now that his municipality is set to open a pilot face-to-face learning hub in Kamakawan Elementary School, located in a remote barangay of Alimodian. Despite his government’s limited budget and unfriendly mountainous terrain, Alonsabe commended the solidarity among municipal officials, families, and youth in delivering the best education in pandemic times.
The presence and encouragement of like-minded policy makers, HE Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian further strengthened the Summit participants’ resolve to strengthen local governance as the driver of multi-sectoral cooperation for the Filipino child.