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2 Catholic schools to expand night classes for poor students

June 4, 2008 7:34am
MANILA, Philippines - After other Catholic schools defied a Malacañang appeal to freeze tuition hikes, two Catholic learning institutions have bared plans to expand night classes for the poor.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Dominican-run Siena College and St. Scholastica's College will again offer night courses basically for family breadwinners.

In a statement on the CBCP website Wednesday, Siena Christian community development services head Sr. Meriza Ocampo said the increasing number of school dropouts among those who finish grade school has reached an alarming level.

Ocampo said they want to "reach out to these underserved children and offer them a scholarship program" through the night high school.

"Since many of these children would be helping their parents in earning a living for the family, the night high school enables them to go to school in the late afternoon up to early evening, giving them the chance to study while working or helping at home," she said.

The program started with 23 students in the school year 2004-2005 and has since been growing.

Ocampo said Siena College has been implementing community extension service programs that serve the unemployed and school dropouts through skills training development courses.

But she said Siena deemed it necessary and urgent to offer a more responsive program for deserving grade-school graduates who wish to finish high school but are prevented by poverty.

On the other hand, St. Scholastica's College (SSC), an exclusive all girls, has been offering night secondary classes since 1970, said night secondary school principal Filipina Pineda.

Pineda said many school employees, house help of alumnae, students, faculty and school personnel and residents of nearby villages have benefited from this program.

She said NSS serves as an alternative source of education for people who are busy working during the day.

Many domestic helpers, office helpers and caregivers are attending the night class at SSC, she added.

She said that with the aid of various civil society organizations, a growing number of programs that suit the house helps’ schedule are available. - GMANews.TV