Reigning Miss Teen International Carly Peeters, whose mother hails from the Philippines, is here in the country to encourage individuals and organizations to sponsor a Smart School-in-a-Bag to improve learning among Filipinos in underserved areas. The School-in-a-Bag is a package containing a laptop, five tablets, TV, a solar panel with batteries, and educational content that is donated to remote communities, especially those without electricity.

Peeters is promoting the School-in-a-Bag as an ambassador of Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation (YBOH), which primarily provides boats in hard-to-reach coastal communities so learners there would not have to swim to school. The boats are patterned after yellow school buses.

YBOH recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Smart Communications, the creator of School-in-a-Bag, to bring the learning package to more areas. Since launching the program in 2016, Smart and its partner donors have delivered 38 School-in-a-Bag units to 65 learning communities all over the country. Each bag, inclusive of training for teachers, costs P100,000.

Under its partnership with YBOH, Smart will initially donate one bag to an Alternative Learning System (ALS) center supported by the foundation in Caramoan island, Camarines Sur. The ALS is a learning option for those without access to formal education in schools.

“I call on organizations, most especially Filipino-American communities around the world, and even individuals, to engage and be part of this initiative by sponsoring more School-in-a-Bag kits. The future of the Philippines relies on the education of today’s children. We all have a stake in this, so let us work together,” Peeters said.

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“In a country where access to education, particularly in communities of the Philippines’ many small islands, is a challenge because of distance and lack of opportunities, we are very excited to partner with Smart for the School-in-a-Bag Program so that we don’t only bring education, but quality education to the doorsteps of the learners. Yellow Boat of Hope believes that while talent is universal, access to quality education is not. With this partnership, along with our ALS teachers and volunteers, we will be able to resolve both challenges on access and quality education,” said YBOH Cofounder and President Anton Lim.

“We are happy to team up with YBOH and Carly Peeters as we have similar goals – we all want to enable underserved communities in remote areas to have access to education. We at Smart want to introduce them to digital tools and an innovative teaching methodology called the Dynamic Learning Program or DLP. Our experience with initial beneficiaries shows that these can boost literacy and heighten interest in learning,” said Smart Public Affairs Head Mon Isberto.

Before receiving the School-in-a-Bag, teachers at the ALS center in Caramoan will undergo training on the Dynamic Learning Program developed by Ramon Magsaysay awardees Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido.

Under this method, students learn independently in classrooms 80% of the time by working on activity sheets. The remaining 20% is when the teacher checks on their progress and helps them process what they already learned on their own. Schools implementing the DLP have reported better retention and mastery of concepts among students.

Teachers have also noted that the DLP helps them teach different grade levels at the same time via parallel classes. This can also prove helpful to ALS teachers who handle students at different skill levels.

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