Australian NGO renovates Maguindanao classrooms

COTABATO CITY, Feb. 26 (PNA) — Almost 7,000 pupils in public schools in the towns of Ampatuan and Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao now benefit from the elementary classrooms rehabilitated by the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM).

The BEAM in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), formally turned over a total of 30 renovated classrooms to education officials in Ampatuan and Datu Odin Sinsuat Wednesday.

According to Kevin Corbin, BEAM-ARMM program team leader, the community, parents and teachers in each school have contributed immensely to the success of the project.

The project, amounting to a total of P6.5 million was managed and implemented by the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) of Maguindanao.

Through the BEAM program, Corbin said they target to rehabilitate a total of 300 classrooms in the province by mid-2015 as part of their commitment to help improve the learning environment in ARMM.

Jamar Kulayan, ARMM secretary of the Department of Education, said BEAM-ARMM compliments their ongoing effort to address classroom shortage in the region.

Kulayan said in addition to the BEAM-ARMM school rehabilitation project, the region’s education department has already allocated funds to support the construction and renovation of school buildings and classrooms in different areas of ARMM.

“We are thankful to the Australian government for their support to our people,” he said in a statement released by the ARMM Bureau of Public Information.

During the launching last year of the BEAM-ARMM project, Kulayan said the program was complimenting the reform being pushed in the regional government’s education program.

“As we launch the BEAM program, let us not forget to whom this program is intended. Ensuring school children are able to access education services suited to their circumstances is the heart of education reform in ARMM. The future is not tomorrow, the future is already here inside the classroom,” Kulayan said.

BEAM ARMM project covers the five provinces and two cities.

Specifically, the program targets 95 percent of ARMM public schools, benefiting 2,347 public elementary and secondary schools, 50 private madaris, 2,382 Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) recipient barangays, 300 barangays without public elementary schools, and 20,000 out-of-school youths. (PNA)