New Hope for Educators

August 4, 2005 was a different way for a group of public school teachers to start their day as they trooped not to their respective schools but gathered at the Philippine Stock Exchange Center in Pasig City , for what is their business in a business district? Philippine Stock Exchange Center (commonly referred to as Tektite Building ), was the venue for an orientation on Human and Ecological Security Program. Teachers from Culiat Elementary School (a public elementary school that caters to a Muslim community in Quezon City), Doña Justa Guido Memorial School (Angono, Rizal) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Sta. Mesa, Manila) listened to presentations on Human and Ecological Security and before the end of the session, talked about how they plan to weave the HES program in their respective curriculum. The convener, Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development, was joined by fellow non-government organizations – Haribon Foundation and the Cordillera News Agency Foundation – in the event, that also was staged to introduce Earthling, a set of journals for students, both in elementary and college level.

Publication of the Earthling Journals for elementary and tertiary is but one of the ways for MTKISD to advance the HES program. It complements the reforms in the curriculum that are being implemented [particularly] in elementary (MAKABAYAN) and tertiary (National Service Training Program). Earthling is published as a supplementary material for all schools, including private schools. MTKISD, recognizing the dearth of materials available for public schools but who do not have wherewithal to pay for them, sought and tapped sponsors for an initial set.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the BPI Foundation provided resource support for students of the abovementioned public schools and the Occidental Mindoro National College to get copies of Earthling . The Rural Bank of Pozorrubio (in Pangasinan) sponsored copies for Pozorrubio Elementary School .

Ms. Laura Blackbern, Biodiversity Specialist from the Haribon Foundation led the teachers in a journey in the diversity of life, where they had an appreciation of the diverse species that are endemic to the Philippines and a realization of human role in the health and wealth of the entire ecosystem.

Dr. Sixto K. Roxas, Chairperson of the MTKISD, conferred a new hope for educators as he enlightened them with the human and ecological security framework that can be adopted across all levels of teaching and discipline.

HES framework shifts peoples’ conventional concept of security from military perspective to poverty, ecological degradation and rapid demographic change. It values human, ecological, social, cultural and spiritual life processes that support and empower people. It’s a quest for a just, equitable sustainable future for all.