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3 Philippine public schools are finalists for World’s Best School Prize categories

MANILA, Philippines – Three public schools in the Philippines have been shortlisted in specific categories in the World’s Best School Prize, which was launched in 2022 by T4 Education (T4), a global education organization in partnership with Yayasan HasanahTempleton World Charity FoundationAccenture, and American Express.

Bonuan Buquig National High School in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, G.L. David Memorial Integrated School in Balanga City, Bataan, and Malitbog National High School in Calinog, Iloilo are finalists in the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action, World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration, and World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, respectively.

When Typhoon Pepeng in 2019 left two-thirds of Dagupan City submerged in flood water, Bonuan Buquig National High School took action to support its students and save the local environment. Mobilizing thousands of volunteers, the school planted mangroves and provided new habitats and shelter for fish.

Photo of Bonuan Buquig National High School (from T4 Education)

In 2014, the school also initiated the International Coastal Clean-up clearing the shorelines of Bonuan Beach. They segregated the garbage collected and recyclable materials were upcycled as garden pots and decorations. Volunteers also planted trees to rehabilitate a local dump site.

When the pandemic hit the Philippines in 2020, students and teachers were forced to shift remote learning. G.L David Memorial Integrated School believed no student should be left behind.

Photo of G.L David Memorial Integrated School (from T4 Education)

The school gathered parents, community members, local government, and businesses establishments to hone students’ social, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing and tackle barriers to their education. They launched the KAIN PA project to help provide daily free meals to students.

The initiative procures vegetables, fruits and other goods from government officials, non-government organizations and parents who buy ingredients from the market and sometimes help cook the meals themselves. The project was a resounding success with malnutrition rates falling from 12.11% in 2019 to 2.13% in 2020.

Meanwhile, Malitbog National High School implemented its Happy and Healthy School Program (HHS) during the pandemic to promote physical, mental, and social health among its 1,000 students – 90% of whom fall below the poverty line and 60% of whom were malnourished when they started school. 

Photo of Malitbog National High School (from T4 Education)

The project was anchored on the idea that every problem has a solution and thus, even in the wake of a global pandemic, the community can address their problems as one body. They launched projects and activities that include home gardening, home-based wellness, advocating a healthy diet, clean water and sanitation, and mental health advocacy among others.

The school managed to raise P2 million to fund the purchase of disinfectant as well as printers and paper for home learning. It also managed to raise the vaccination rate of staff from less than 1%, due to initial vaccine hesitancy, to 100% as result of its community-focused campaign. 

What’s next?

The top three winners for each category will be announced later this year. Aside from the three categories mentioned above, there are also two other categories – Overcoming Adversity and Innovation.

The winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy made up of distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector. The winners will be announced in October 2022 at World Education Week. A prize of US$250,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000. 

All the shortlisted schools in each prize category will share their best practices to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education in other areas. –