Greetings my dear Rotarians of District 3810!
We are now well in the beginning of the third month of our term and I would like to express how impressed I am with how everyone’s performing. Our term has been welcomed yet with another enhanced community quarantine and I know it forced us to move, if not cancel, our events and activities. However, this did not slow you down nor dispirited you, for all of you continued and are continuing to show increasing enthusiasm — launching projects left and right — in living up to one of Rotary’s core values: service.
For the month of September, our focus is Basic Education and Literacy — Rotary’s fifth area of focus. According to Rotary data, 17% of the world’s adult population, or 775 million are illiterate. Meanwhile, as reported to World Education Services in 2018, the Philippines is the only Southeast Asian country with declining literacy.
We have always argued that access to quality education is the basic right of every individual. Yet as we observe today, education is becoming more and more of a privilege. As education shifts towards online learning, students from poor families are forced to drop out due to lack of resources that can help them meet the demands of online learning. Digital divide has been evident, and from the previous school year alone, as reported by the Department of Education’s data, more than four million students have already dropped out from school.
But students are not the only ones affected by this set up, but our teachers as well. Most of them, especially those in rural areas, are being challenged by their lack of access to technology and digital resources and skills to teach in the new normal. I hope that by knowing this, we could find a way to ease their situation a little, be it by providing devices and the internet, or through training and workshops about online teaching.
Education should never be a privilege. Hence, we must work together to ensure that no children or adults are left uneducated, and that our education system is providing quality learning by equipping our teachers and students with necessary resources and facilities.
As Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” True enough, education also enhances lives. With this, I look forward to more of your service projects related to this cause, and together, let us empower more people and change more lives.
Before I end, I would like to emphasize the importance of vaccination. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can reach herd immunity and return to our normal lives. With this, I expect you to support all district initiatives on vaccination awareness, and encourage as many people as you can to get vaccinated and prevent the further spread of the virus. Let us work together and reach herd immunity, one vaccine at a time.
God bless us all.