'Floating schools' for sea gypsy kids to open in Basulta
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2014 - 3:09pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY - The indigenous local sea gypsy children from the Badjao and Sama tribes will no longer be left out from education even at sea as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and a Bangladesh-based non-government organization (NGO) will open floating schools on Sunday to the natives in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (Basulta).

The Bangladesh-based NGO called BRAC will launch the Floating Learning Centers in the coastal villages of Tampakan and Tongtong in Siasi town, Sulu in coordination with the ARMM-Department of Education (DepEd) led by Secretary Jamar Kulayan.

At least seven floating schools will be opened as classes resumed throughout the ARMM region.

Three of the floating schools be will designated for Bongao and Pamglima Sugala towns in Tawi-Tawi; another three for Siasi town, Sulu; and one in Lamitan City, Basilan.

Floating learning centers are docked along coastlines, particularly in the island communities that are unable to contribute a land or space. It also targets children in communities along the shorelines and areas that are far from public schools, according to BRAC’s country representative M Nazrul Islam.

BRAC's officials observed that members of the Badjao and Sama tribes are aloof with other larger tribes and appear reluctant in mingling with others.

“That’s why most of them prefer not to be in school. The BRAC Floating Learning Center is the best learning facility, we thought, that would fit their culture, that would build their trust and confidence, and would make them feel the sense of ownership, which is most important consideration to the sustainability of the project,” he added.

ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the program will be of great contribution to his administration’s effort to provide children more opportunities to get basic eduction.

Hataman said they have already started the program with the hiring of close to 2,000 qualified teachers a few weeks ago.

An estimated 40,000 out-of-school children will benefit from the Floating Learning Centers this school year.

There are already 312 BRAC learning centers in Maguindanao, 610 in Lanao del Sur, 118 in Tawi-Tawi, 102 in Sulu and 78 in Basilan.

AUTONOMOUS REGION BADJAO AND SAMA BASILAN BONGAO AND PAMGLIMA SUGALA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FLOATING FLOATING LEARNING CENTER FLOATING LEARNING CENTERS LAMITAN CITY M NAZRUL ISLAM MUJIV HATAMAN
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