1 Arami

Alejandro Roces Essays On Education

More than Anime

Elaine Espirin, Holy Family School of Quezon City Inc.

What comes to mind whenever you hear the word Japan?

If you ever find yourself wandering the streets of Quezon City, try asking young people that question. I believe that more likely each young person will answer with one word: Anime. Trust me, I know because I was also asked the same question and promptly gave the same answer. In the Philippines, that is how most of young people see Japan. It is all right to love Japan for the quirky, colorful art it has gifted the world. However, if your only image of Japan is a katana-wielding girl in a school uniform, your knowledge of Japan needs a serious update. I tell you: Japan is way more than that. The rest of the world should know this, especially us Filipinos.

Japan and the Philippines have established the bonds of friendship and cooperation through the years by constant interaction and open communication. Since 1966, Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has implemented several activities in the Philippines. The projects involve combining the man-power and resources of Japan and the Philippines to resolve specific problems such as water pollution, rice farming, fish breeding, maternal and child health, accommodation of handicapped people in rural areas and, of course, education. In the National Capital Region (NCR) where my city is, JICA has two technical projects: the Project for Supporting Senior High School Modeling in Selected Technical Vocational High Schools (SHS Modeling) and the Capacity Development Project on Water Quality Management.

If you have a faucet near you, get a cup and fill it to the brim. Ever wonder how much bacteria live in that cup you are holding right now? Although the water has beenprocessed before being piped out to different parts of the cities, microbes still lurk in the water, the very water we use for bathing, cooking and drinking. Since the boom of industrial businesses, water pollution has been a problem. Chemical and human wastes now float the murky rivers of Marikina and Pasig. Here is where JICA plays a role. Its project, the Capacity Development Project on Water Quality Management, is mainly focused on improving our sources of water. As a saying goes, "If you want to change the outcome, change the cause first."JICA has conducted researches and studies to investigate possible measures to improve the conditions and extend the lives of our bodies of water. When the project ended on 2011, the water pollution has been tracked thoroughly for us locals who rely on the common water origins in the NCR.My fears of having explosive diarrhea due to contaminated water have greatly diminished,thanks to this brilliant monitoring procedure.

The Philippines has recently shifted from the Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) to the K-12 curriculum as the country has been lagging behind the worldon the required education of its high school graduates. The country has recognized the needs of the younger generation to cope with a dynamic society and changing needs of a global workforce. The Senior High in a K-12 curriculum, according to my homeroom teacher, allows more hands-on activities and general education subjects related to most university-level coursework. It aims to prepare graduating students for life after high school. With this, the Department of Education (DepEd), in cooperation with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and JICA, launched the Senior High School Modeling Program (SHS Modeling Program). The goal of the SHS Modeling Program is to train Filipino high school students, specifically students of grade levels 11 and 12, in vocational courses. Poverty is very evident in the Philippines, and only a number of families can afford to send their children to college. If a student decides not to pursue college education, a vocational course will be helpful to them. JICA recognizes this possibility and offers its assistance to guarantee the success of the said program.When funds have been established, schools were needed to house the activities. Currently, three schools are used as facilities: the Rizal Experimental Station and Pilot School for Cottage Industries, located in Pasig City, Metro Manila; the Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science and Technology High School, which is in Quezon City, Metro Manila; and, San Pedro Relocation Center National High School. Hundreds of students took the opportunity and on March 2014, the first class of the SHS Modeling Program graduated. In an interview with some of the students, an SHS graduate said, "It was a nice opportunity for me to study at the Tech-Voc track during my grade 11 and 12, because I could obtain the National Certificates and experienced OJT."

Important as it seems, most of our youth don't actually know of this. This is a real problem. These projects are aimed for the betterment of the future generation's life. If you want to make it big, you need to start small. I started a few days ago, by sharing of this to my very own circle of friends. They were astonished at this fact. Soon, the news of this article spread throughout my class. If my motives were to be followed, I will make a group of students. Our very goal is for us to educate the younger batches, especially those in the grade 10 as of 2014, of the SHS Modeling Program and the Capacity Development Project on Water Quality Management, since we are the last batch of the BEC Curriculum and the only ones who are blessed to have known such information. We will share with them the possible line of works they could go into, or the home-based works they could initiate using the SHS Modeling Program, and the ways they could help the Philippines in conserving our water sources with the help of the Capacity Development Project on Water Quality Management program. That will be our first move. The next is to let them experience the activities first-hand. That way, they will be able to validate the information our student group has given to them, and of course, have the idea of what they will be doing for two years, or for the years to come if ever they decide to pursue and/or join the projects.

Because of the Capacity Development Project on Water Quality Management and the SHS Modeling Program, lives were saved and changed. These programs reiterate the friendship and cooperation of Japan and the Philippines. Upon learning the extent of assistance Japan lends to the Philippines, my impression of Japan changed from the land of Anime to a mighty country whose generosity knows no bounds.Japan showed its patience for our sake. How do we ensure that the benefits of these projects are perpetuated? Simple: we take care of our water and education resources, encourage the future generation to pursue what friendship and cooperation with Japan through JICA taught us, and share the knowledge to other regions and countries. With those, the combined efforts will never go to waste.

On a personal level...

Here is the question again: What comes to mind when you hear the word Japan?


(SPOT.ph) National Artist Alejandro "Anding" Roces passed away this morning, May 23, according to colleague and family friend Cecile Guidote Alvarez, who informed GMA News. He was 86. As of press time, GMA has not confirmed the cause of death.

A dramatist, writer, essayist, Roces was also the chair and president of the College Assurance Plan Foundation as well as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2001, revealed a biography on the Roces clan. It also mentioned that Roces became president of the Bulletin Publishing Corporation and was appointed Dean of the Institute of Arts and Science at the Far Eastern University where he took his Masters.

In the field of literature and journalism, Roces had an impressive portfolio with books that featured short stories (including We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers, My Brother's Peculiar Chicken); Fiesta is a book of essays about local festivals.

Roces also kept a column Roses and Thorns for thePhilippine Starwhich was also featured in Manila Times and the Daily Mirror.

As Education Secretary from 1961 to 1965, Roces managed to meet up with the thief who stole the Jose Rizal's manuscripts. He demanded to have them back for P1 million pesos, the maximum amount the government can afford, reports GMA News.

According to the biography, his various involvements earned him a place in the Philippine Star's"World's Who's Who" dated on May 21, 2000, which featured achievers and contributors from the world over. A year before that, Roces was also granted the Parangal Sentenyal sa Sining at Kultura for contributions to cultural dissemination. He was named National Artist in 2003.

In a 2002 interview, Roces said that his experiences "made (him) a better person. You cannot be a great writer, first you have to be a good person."

According to GMA's report, Roces' remains will be cremated on Monday afternoon and will be brought to his Makati home after. His family will also hold a meeting to arrange a tribute for him.

For more on this story, log on to GMA News.

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