K4: Kariton Klasrum; Bringing Education at the Streets

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Graduation days are blossoming around that signals the summer vacation but still students got to have their summer classes or make-up class. But in spite of the schedule of education classes in the Philippines, the Kariton Klasrum (push cart classroom) is


Graduation days are blossoming around that signals the summer vacation but still students got to have their summer classes or make-up class. But in spite of the schedule of education classes in the Philippines, the Kariton Klasrum (push cart classroom) is unstoppable. The new and improvised cart classroom will roll-out soon in the streets of Metro Manila. Inspired by the leadership of a global hero, the Department of Education (DepEd) launched an active learning program to reach-out the street children following the pushcart learning system of 2009 CNN Hero Efren Penaflorida.

Brief History of the CNN Hero  

Mr. Efren Penaflorida is both a teacher and social worker born in the Philippines. In 1997, at the age of 16, he founded the Dynamic Teen Company (DTC), a group of dedicated youth in his high school for the purpose of diverting youths and students away from street vices towards personal developments and community sharing.

The Team started as a friendship club with around 20 active members. They aimed high of rendering youth social awareness, self-development and talent activities and community concerns. They also joined other active community service organization around the area.

Finally, they initiated the idea of the pushcart classroom, wherein the pushcarts were loaded with school materials such as books, pencils, including small tables and chairs. They scheduled their pushcart classrooms every Saturdays to recreate settings in unconventional places like near markets, squatters areas and even at trash dump areas.

The Dynamic Teen Company teaches basic writing and reading to street children.             

In 2009, the CNN’s Blue Ribbon Panel selected Efren Penaflorida as one of its 28 heroes. This came in from the nomination by Club 8586, the youth club that help financed Penaflorida’s elementary and high school education. He was named CNN Hero of the Year for 2009 for his achievements with cash prizes to continue his work with his Dynamic Teen Company.

Labor of Love

The Department of Education and the Penaflorida’ team, DTC together with the help of the Social Welfare Department, government and non-government units and local officials will bring the Kariton Klasrum to Metro Manila, a six-month basic literacy training to street children aging from 5 to 15 years old, free.


Image One: Efren Penaflorida with his kariton klasrum teaching street children

The purpose of the Kariton Klasrum is to help and encourage street children who jumped away from school because of poverty, no interest in studying and the bad influences of the surroundings. It is not for the intention to replace the formal education system but to encourage the children to go back to formal schooling.

K4 means Kariton (pushcart), Klasrum (class room), Klinik (clinic), Kantin (canteen), a program aspiring to bring wholesome learning experience for those who cannot afford to go to formal classes through providing simple alternative classroom, hands-on learning, health care and feeding program.

This curriculum was first initiated by Penaflorida in his birthplace at Cavite City but this time, DepEd will roll out four units of kariton classrooms in Manila and nearby cities like Caloocan, Pasig and Quezon City aiming areas where street children prevails. The local governments authorities estimates a number of Metro Manila’s street children to more than 5,000.

More pushcarts will be roll out to the streets of Metro Manila soon, according to the DepEd Secretary. The DTC trained teachers will volunteer to interchange on every kariton klasrum equipped with a special curriculum developed specially for street children.

Basic Learning

The basics start where the kids are, like how to eat properly and how to clean, like taking a bath and proper hand-washing. Those who finished the basics may then take DepEd’s comparison tests for their next and ideal enrollment in formal public schooling. The Department of Education has existing curriculum provided for out-of-school youths and state learning is mainly centered on rendering for those in formal schools. The Education Department’s mission is to take care of the youth and the focus has been centered on the children already on school. But the present president of our country, President Aquino always says that we should also look for youths left behind.

Out Reach and Funding

These out-of-school youths must be achieve, while DepEd has yet to allocate specific funds for the program. The DepEd Secretary expressed confidence that funding will come, even if funds are not listed in the national budget.

While the Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, her department will go after the street children to be enlisted in the Kariton Klasrum plan and include them in the conditional cash transfer project. This project will provide the poorest Filipino families regular state subsidy if compliance with the basic requirements are met including keeping their children in school, a regular health care and extended food program.


Reference: Philippine Daily Inquirer Jan. 15, 2012 pp A23-A24

Primary Image Source: http://newsinfo-cdn.inquirer.net/files/2012/01/kariton-klasrum.jpg

Image One: http://loqal.ph/science-and-education/files/2012/01/efren_ss.jpg


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