Project DORP: DepEd Catches Dropping Out Students
(The Philippine Star) Updated October 29, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Paolo Velasco, a 17-year old fourth year student of the Marikina National High School is in danger of not graduating because he is hard-up going to school while working in the meat shop of his uncle. Working long hours, he earns a measly P100 a day which he shares with his younger sister for their food.
Paolo stopped going to school when he was first year because he had to look for their mother who deserted them when he was three years old, just after their father died. He grew up with his aunt who also soon died. Through dogged determination, he found a way to continue his schooling.
Paolo has no family to count on to support him as a young student. In the book of the Department of Education, he is considered a student at the risk of dropping out (SARDO) from school. At his age, he cannot combine work and regular schooling. MNHS’s Guidance Counselor Jose Baldovar says “Paolo is to graduate this March but that won’t happen if he remains in the regular program.”
On the initiative of the school’s principal, Victoria Naranj a, Paolo’ s papers are now being processed for him to be absorbed in the Open High School where he can continue going to school once a week while working. He can finally graduate this coming March.
The Open High School Program (OHSP) is one of the alternative schemes under the Drop Out Reduction Program (DORP) of the DepEd. Through OHSP, students can complete their high school education even if they find themselves in circumstances that would not allow them to continue going to school under the regular system.
The OHSP is considered formal and structured. Students learn the eight core subjects in English, Science, Mathematics, Filipino, Aralin Panlipunan, Edukasyon sa Pagpapahalaga, and Music and Arts and Physical Education and Health (MAPEH). They graduate by completing the four levels from first year to fourth year.
The grading system is the same with the regular program. Students in the OHSP also graduate with the regular students at the end of the school year.
It started in 1998 with a few high schools initially offering it. Today, more and more high schools nationwide are offering the program as part of the scheme to address the issue on school drop-outs.
Since the DORP was implemented, there has been a significant change in drop-out rate in the secondary level. From 12.51 percent in 2005-2006, this went down to 7.45 percent in 2007-2008.
The DORP was formulated to respond to the needs of students who cannot report to class regularly because they are working either as part time of full time or for any other reason.
There are about five to six million Filipinos of school age who are out of school. Many are willing to finish high school but are constrained by family, individual, community and school concerns. Rightly so, the DORP focuses on these four risk factors that lead to the dropout problem.
The DORP has three major components namely the Effective Alternative Secondary Education or EASE, the Open High School or Distance Education Program (OHSP) and the School Initiated Interventions (Sli).
DORP was designed to address the problems faced by students which prevent them from completing their elementary and high school education. For instance, many students cannot report to class regularly because of various reasons like work, physical handicap, family and health problems, among others.
The students have a choice among three modes in continuing their schooling. One mode is the modular system where teachers use learning modules which the student can bring home for their self study. The content of the modules are similar to the textbooks used by regular students.
The EASE plan is applied to short-term and seasonal SARDO while the OHSP is recommended for SARDOs who permanently cannot attend regular classes. The SIT is utilized based on the felt needs of the SARDO and to the existing available school resources..