PGMA receives surprise awards from the education sector

June 11, 2010 8:28 pm 

MANILA, June 11 — What was slated as a presidential address on achievements and successful government initiatives in the education sector at the Manila Hotel Friday turned into a surprise outpouring of citations and thanks to outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Educators, students and stakeholders in the education sector mobbed the President as they moved in crowds to greet her at the Manila Hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion where she graced the 2010 Philippine Education Congress.

The President was originally scheduled to keynote the congress but decided to forgo her prepared speech as the jubilant crowds surged up the stage to greet her.

The President instead gave Education Secretary Mona Valisno a presidential citation and the Order of Lakandula, a government honor in memory of the pre-Spanish datu’s dedication to the responsibilities of leadership, prudence, fortitude, courage and resolve in the service of one’s people.

The President cited Valisno for steering the Department of Education (DepEd) in contributing to the successful holding of the first-ever automated elections and for her dedicated public service in ensuring the quality of the country’s education system.

Just after donning the sash and pin on Valisno, the President was surprised to see people going up the stage with their respective plaques and citations to be given to her.

First to go on stage were Drs. Mars Fernandez and Fay Lauraya and Ambassador Donald Dee for the National Federation of Higher Educational Institution’s plaque of appreciation for outstanding leadership in public service in advancing the public education system, curricular reforms, providing scholarships and focus on research and development, which have helped elevate the Philippine education system closer to global standards.

Then came the plaque from the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges expressing the gratitude of the public educators for the efforts and focus provided by the President in ensuring excellence, greater access and relevance of the Philippine public education system.

The third citation came from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the President’s “unwavering support to business and industry through her fiscal and trade reforms that contributed to stability and development” and for providing an effective link and relevance of the academic community to the requirements of trade and industry.

But most touching of the citations was the small fiberglass plaque presented by five-year-old Sheryl Lumbang, a preschoolder at the P. Gomez Elementary School who was able to finish preschool because of the scholarship given by the President.

”Thank you for giving me a teacher who taught me how to sing, dance and play with other children; who taught me to recite poems and other pieces and I enjoyed my schooling,” she said as the President watched amusedly. They had a photo opportunity with the shy preschooler not knowing how to hand the President her plaque.

Then came Jason Dacayanan, 12 years old, blind at birth and a grade 5 scholar of the President at the Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City who expressed his gratitude on behalf of over 2,000 children-scholars.

“Now we are free from discrimination, we enjoy our studies, and we can enjoy the company of other students as well,” he said.

The last expression of gratitude, with plaque, came from Jocelyn Belo of Sorsogon, a PGMA scholar who took up a master's degree in Reading in 2006 to 2010. She is one of 31 teachers all over the country who passed DepEd’s five-summer Teacher Scholarship Program.

This program is part of the continuing teachers' development training that allows teachers to pursue master's degree in education originally for English, Science and Math. This degree is offered at the University of the Philippines.

Belo, who teaches at the Matnog Central School in Sorsogon, vowed to serve as a model for other teachers to pursue higher education so that they can elevate their teaching quality to global standards. (PNA)

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