[Blueboard] Hope lies in Synergeia

hkeh at ateneo.edu hkeh at ateneo.edu
Wed Jan 14 07:53:23 PHT 2004

Please post.

Good morning! Amidst all the problems that we are facing now, may this
article bring back some hope in our nation. If you find it a good read,
please forward it to your friends and colleagues. Have a good day! :) 

You may find the link to the article at:


Or you may read it below:

Hope lies in Synergeia
by: Harvey S. Keh
The Manila Times, January 14,2004
Last weekend, I attended the 3rd Synergeia Foundation Retreat at the Yen
Center within the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction
(IIRR). The retreat was meant to help the members of the foundation to
get to know more about each other's programs and at the same time try to
chart the direction that Synergeia will pursue for this year. 

For those who may not have heard yet, Synergeia is a foundation committed
toward uplifting the state of basic education in our country through
systemic and collaborative reforms. Systemic reforms mean that
Synergeia's programs and activities works within the current education
frame­work that is being implemented by the Department of Education
(DepEd) thus, instead of going against the system, Synergeia is trying to
create positive change by working hand in hand with the DepEd. 

This is one of the major reasons why during the said retreat, 30 percent
of the participants came from the DepEd. Another major thrust of
Synergeia is to be able to create partnerships within different
stakeholders like the local governments, the private sector and other
fellow nongovernment organizations. 

This collaboration can be seen through one of their programs in San
Fernando, Pampanga, which is currently being spearheaded by its dynamic
and hardworking mayor, Dr. Rey Aquino. Mayor Aquino through the support
of The Ford Foundation and some members of the business community in San
Fernando has been able to establish Project: REY or Reading Excellence
for the Youth. 

This program aims to eliminate the growing number of nonreaders and at the
same time try to encourage the parents to get more involved with their
child's education. This is done by providing teacher training to the
Elementary School teachers who are teaching in Grades 1 and 2. 

The teachers are taught new techniques and methods that would enable them
to teach more effectively and motivate their students to learn. 

Another component of this program are the seminar-workshops given to the
parents of the students to make them better "tutors" for their children
when they are at home. Through this home-school partnership, the child is
assured of a learning environment wherever he goes. Finally, one of the
major achievements that this project has done is to be able to provide
almost all of the grade one students with workbooks that they could use.
With these workbooks, students are able to practice what they have
learned in the lecture and this would help them further hone their
reading skills. 

Mayor Aquino also cites the collaboration between the DepEd and the local
government as one of the major reasons why this has so far achieved a
reasonable amount of success. Instead of criticizing the DepEd, what we
are seeing here right now is a good formula in implementing education

Through a systemic and collaborative education reform program, we can
gather more support and ensure that our activities will not simply go
down the drain. An upcoming reading program that Synergeia has also
helped establish is a reading program for the Grade 1 students of Jaro,
Ilo-Ilo. Through a generous grant by the Montinola Foundation and with
the support of Mayor Jerry Treñas, the pupils of Jaro can now rest
assured that when they reach high school they will be able to read
competently. This further illustrates that when people or groups sit down
and synergize, wonderful things can happen. 

With the continuous divisions that our country has endured in the past
years, our government leaders may need to take a lesson or two on what
Synergeia has already done in such a small amount of time. For a
foundation that is barely two years old, Synergeia already has a national
constituency and has helped more than one million Filipinos receive a
better education. Furthermore, they have continued to grow and they now
count Washington Sycip, Fr. Ben Nebres, Dr. Milwida Guevara, Winnie
Monsod, Sec. Lito Cosculluela and Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City as
among their members. The secret to their success? They have the unending
passion to make quality education accessible to all without expecting
anything in return. But more importantly, their success lies in their
genuine hearts that still believes that each Filipino child deserves only
the best education that we can give. 

Through Synergeia I have seen that there is still hope amid these troubled
times where our leaders are again more concerned about getting themselves
into power rather than serving our people. May the Synergeia Foundation
continue to grow and inspire us to help the Filipino child attain a more
meaningful future through quality education. 

If you would like to be part of the Synergeia Foundation, please call them
at 898-2617 or 899-7691 loc. 2222. You may look for Chingkel Juan or
Trissa Manalastas. 


The Pathways to Higher Education office located at Alingal Hall, Ateneo de
Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, is currently accepting
donations for the victims of the recent fire that displaced more than
1,000 families in Baseco, Tondo, Manila. Donations of food, water,
clothing and medicines are highly appreciated. You may call 426-600l loc.
4048 for details. 

You may email the writer at hkeh at ateneo.edu for your comments 

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