Summer program set for students displaced by Zambo standoff

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – School children displaced by the September 2013 standoff between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front will have a chance to improve their academic performance through a Summer Enhancement Program, an education official said Monday.

Superintendent Pedro Melchor Natividad, officer-in-charge of the City Schools Division, said the program is for three possible classifications of student-clients from the elementary schools in Barangays Sta. Barbara, Rio Hondo and Mariki including those from the Zamboanga National High School (ZNHS)-West Annex in Rio Hondo.

They are those who have completed the 180 schools days as required but showed poor academic performance, “tracked learners” but are not attending classes, and unaccounted learners.

Natividad said they are worried about those who have completed the required number of school days but could not cope with the demands of the next grade level.

He said they will meet with the parents of these students to convince them to support the program by sending their children to summer classes.

“We are worried about that because we will tell the parents that the passing mark in the (report) cards is not a justification that their children can do better next year,” he explained.

He said they have only managed to track down the whereabouts of 4,509 of the total 5,113 students enrolled in the three elementary schools in the areas affected by the standoff.

He said only 3,295 of the 4,509 tracked learners were attending classes.

“We are reaching out to them so that they can attend summer classes or else we cannot promote them to the next year or next grade level,” he said.

He said 2,202 of the 3,295 were attending classes in their respective schools while the remaining 1,093 were attending classes in other schools.

Natividad said he has tasked the teachers to reach out to the 604 “untracked” or unaccounted students until the end of this month as a last-ditch effort.

He said the whereabouts of the 604 students “have never been traced until now despite our coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”

He said the ZNHS-West Rion Hondo Annex has 189 students in Grade 7 (first year high school) and all are accounted for. (MindaNews)