Smart Communications and the SM have pledged to build dozens of new schools to give education to many more Filipino children around the country.
Smart has announced the expansion of its Smart Schools Program to include an additional 30 public high schools and 30 public elementary schools nationwide this year.
The SM group of Filipino-Chinese shopping and banking magnate Henry Sy Sr. pledged seven two-classroom, one-storey school buildings to the Department of Education. Aside from the seven school buildings, the SM group – comprised of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and SM Foundation, Inc. – pledged an additional school building it will build in partnership with Deutsche Bank.
Under the agreement among Smart, the Department of Education and the Philippine Business for Social Progress, teachers of selected public high schools nationwide are provided training as well as access to the Internet and to educational content.
Some 8,000 public school teachers have been trained under the Smart Schools Program, which also supports the DepEd objective to achieve “Education for All.” The program is now on its fourth year.
“The success of the program lies in its integrated approach to information and communications technology in education,” Smart president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno said at the signing ceremony last month.
He said the target was to further raise the number of Smart partner schools among the 44,000 public schools in the country.
As for the SM Group of Companies, the DepEd accepted the donation of the eight school buildings worth some P9.7 million under its Adopt-A-School program, which handles assistance from the private sector to help fill the shortages in school buildings, classrooms, school furniture, and teachers in public schools.
DepEd expects construction of the school buildings to start this month and be ready for turnover to public schools by January 2009.
The seven schools to get the school buildings – complete with furniture and equipment – are Mabalacat Community High School and Sapalibutad Elementary School, both in Pampanga; Irisan National High School and Pinsao National High School, both in Baguio; Vagres Elementary School and Mintal National High School, both in Bacolod; and Mintal National High School Tubok Annex in Davao.
The recipient of the eighth school building is Bacoor National High School’s Molino-Burol Annex in Bacoor City, Cavite.