Teaching in the new normal is challenging for many educators since face-to-face classes are put on hold. Thinking forward, the principal of Marikit Elementary School in Aborlan was inspired to launch the first radio-based program of its kind in Palawan, enabling the school to closely guide their students in distance learning.
Mr. Reuben Herrera, the principal of Marikit Elementary School, was first acquainted with the idea of radio-based instruction (RBI) when he was an Alternative Learning System (ALS) mobile teacher in 2008. As a national scriptwriter for ALS’ RBI program, he learned the basics of running a radio program, from scriptwriting to broadcasting. He used this knowledge to train the eight teachers of Marikit Elementary School who now comprise the team behind their Radyo-Aralan Program.
Together with teachers Rosaly G. Ramos, Jonathan B. Padul, Marie Kathleen E. Liao, Aprilyn A. Francisco, Irene P. Jamco, Richelle R. Halili, Cristine Joy G. Esparagoza, and Miguela Badilla, Mr. Herrera was able to successfully launch their program at the start of the school year last October 5. Between him and the eight teachers, the team produces a total of 56 radio lessons every week.
“Yung mga guro talaga sa Marikit Elementary School ay dedicated at gusto talaga nilang tulungan yung mga bata na sineserbisyohan namin. Lahat sila [dati ay may] zero knowledge, pero ngayon maayos na sila dahil ginusto nila at masaya sila sa ginagawa nila – pati ‘yong dedication nila ay walang katulad. Napakalalim ng kanilang commitment para matulungan ‘yong mga bata na tintuturuan namin,” shared Mr. Herrera in an interview with Palawan Daily.
Proudly, all 211 students enrolled in Marikit ES are able to receive radio-based instruction through the Radyo-Aralan Program. According to Mr. Herrera, a private donor helped make this possible by donating PHP16,000 to buy rechargeable radios for students who do not have one at home.
Now, 35 different groups all over Palawan have heard about Radyo-Aralan and visited the school to learn how to make their own RBI program.
“Nakakatuwa po kasi minsan nagte-text yung mga principal na nakapunta na, sabi ay na-inspire daw sila sa ginawa ng mga teacher,” stated Mr. Herrera.
So far, the only challenge the school has faced are brownouts. They cannot air their lessons when the electricity is out, and they have to revise their scheduled radio lessons once the power comes back. To solve this, the school is looking for sponsors who can donate a solar panel set to sustain power throughout the day.
Mr. Herrera credits his experiences as an ALS mobile teacher for inspiring him to be the committed educator and principal he is today.
“Nitong nagtuturo na ako, lalo na sa ALS, doon ko talaga natutunan kung ano ba talaga ang kailangan ng isang community para maging developed or para maging matagumpay ‘yung isang tao. So doon na nabuo yung commitment ko na tulungan ‘yung mga kabataan, mga learners, na kailangan mabigyan ng magandang edukasyon para naman pagdating ng araw ay hindi sila maging problema ng komunidad, bagkus sila ‘yung magpapatakbo ng maayos na komunidad,” he said.
He also gives praise to the teachers of Marikit Elementary School who have shown dedication and hardwork, especially during these challenging times.
“Mapalad lang ako na ang mga teacher ng Marikit Elementary School ay very supportive, committed, and dedicated,” told Mr. Herrera.