PEDALS AND PADDLES PROJECT
MARITA S. MONTEMAYOR
Have you heard of the Department of Education’s Pedals and Paddles Project? It aims to provide an easier and faster way to go to school for children who live in areas without other means of transportation.
The School Principals or School Head together with the Municipality will take the lead in identifying the student- recipient of the said project, following certain guidelines.
Boats will be given to communities with schoolchildren that need to wade through bodies of water to go to school.
Each boat will be turned over to a family within the community that agrees to accept the boat and to abide by the policies and rules of the project. Aside from ferrying the schoolchildren to a certain point going to their respective schools, recipient families will have to ensure that there are specific individuals who will take responsibility over the boat’s use, maintenance, and upkeep; and maximize the boat’s potential as this can also be used for the family’s livelihood during off-school hours or off-school days.
Bicycles, meanwhile, will be given to high school students who have to walk several kilometers to go to school. The priority is high school students because they are more capable of riding bikes compared to younger schoolchildren.
Each bike will be given to students as “bike loan” while giving partial ownership to schools to look over the use of the bikes and ensure proper maintenance and upkeep of bikes.
A school, in order to be a beneficiary, must agree and commit to provide a facility that can be used to store the bikes during off-school hours and/or days, ensure regular and continuous upkeep of bikes, appoint a focal person who can supervise an inventory control in ensuring efficient use of bikes, and a support group that can monitor student’s performance and sustainability of the project.
A student who needs to walk at least three (3) kilometers in going to school and lives at low-income threshold (Php 6,000.00 and below for a family of 5) will be chosen as beneficiary.
The author is Secondary School Teacher III at Diosdado Macapagal Memorial High School, Floridablanca, Pampanga