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Mobile teachers educate "seasonal pupils"

Children from rural areas often skip classes, while some even have to drop out of school to help their families in farms during harvest seasons. The Department of Education (DepEd) said that these child labourers, tagged as “seasonal pupils”, can still be saved through accessible educational services.

According to the National Statistics Office (NSO) 2001 Survey on Children, seven out of 10 working children come from rural areas. Many children from far-flung villages are forced to work due to lack of access to educational services and facilities, along with the difficulty in transportation going to nearest schools.

In Quezon Province, the DepEd, as an active member and secretariat of the Provincial Child Labor Committee (PCLC) works with local government units in reaching out to child labourers through “mobile teachers.” These educators, imbued with high level of commitment, teach even in the farthest barangays. Many child labourers have been given the chance to access education.

DepEd provides tools and techniques and equip mobile teachers through regular training. The municipal government, where they are assigned, pays for their salaries and allowances. This partnership works in the mainland and island municipalities of the province.

DepEd is also developing a self-help module that will benefit not just child labourers, but also out-of-school-youth and teenage parents. Efforts of the department inspire and motivate other members of the Quezon Provincial Child Labor Committee (PCLC), a sub-committee under the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (PCPC). PCPC was formed through an Executive Order signed by Governor David Suarez on 28February 2011.

The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) supports the PCLC and works closely with its members in developing action programmes, similar to DepEd’s mobile teachers, to help child labourers and their families.

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