HEARTENING. Viral photo (left) captured by Mico Tan showing a young boy and his grandmother sitting outside a mall while looking through the phone they just bought for the boy’s online classes inspires the No Classmate Left Behind campaign and logo (right). PHOTO COURTESY OF No Classmate Left Behind

Reader. Writer. Scholar.

by Amaranth Xena Soleil Saludar

No Classmate Left Behind (NCLB) was officially launched as a short-term fundraising project on July 6, 2020, led by Bryan Joseph Keith Alonzo, a 21-year old teacher and school paper adviser of The Lazette at La Salle Green Hills, along with fellow teachers, aspiring educators, and education advocates.

NCLB was initiated to provide educational Information and Communications Technology tablets, which meet the requirement prescribed by the Department of Education (DepEd) for online learning, to deserving public school students who reside in Metro Manila.

Through NCLB, Alonzo and his team ought to address a concern in the DepEd’s blended learning scheme, which is a big challenge for  students because they do not have the resources and the money to buy gadgets or to pay for internet connection.

With that, the team behind NCLB hoped to solve the problem by seeking donations to provide gadgets to the children in-need even if they know that they cannot “save” all of them, but at least, help “several number” of them, so they can continue with their education.

The current situation in education took Alonzo into remembering his teaching experience when he was in college.

“When I taught in a public school for my college internship, my students would dread paying five pesos for the photocopy of their module,” Alonzo recalled.

“Five pesos [pa] lang ‘yon, what more if they have to pay 50 pesos a day for their data connection or they have to buy at least 2,000 pesos worth of a new tablet or old tablet. Mahihirapan talaga ang maraming bata,” he added.

Aside from his experience, Alonzo was also moved to help public school students upon seeing a photo captured by Mico Tan that was posted on Facebook, which became the inspiration behind NCLB.

Alonzo stated that he believes that the situation of a young boy and his grandmother sitting outside a mall while looking through the phone they just bought for the boy’s online classes, as seen in the said photo, is not an isolated case.

“Marami talagang students from public schools ‘yong mas mahihirapan pa. Baka nga wala talaga silang pambili or hindi nila talaga ma-prioritize itong gadget or internet connection,” Alonzo remarked.

Amid these difficulties, Alonzo wanted to tell people, especially students and teachers, to help themselves by holding on to their ability and by reading whatever materials they have as a way to update and to educate themselves in this time of crisis.

“All of us should help ourselves. We need to hold on to our ability to keep ourselves updated with the things that are happening around us and we can do that by reading…because [education] doesn’t necessarily mean paying for expensive online classes. [Especially now], survival is the greatest priority when it comes to a time like this…By reading the things that we have…the books, dictionaries at home, [it is a big thing] to help us educate ourselves in this time of pandemic,” Alonzo said.

*Interested donors and beneficiaries may reach NCLB through their Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for more details.

**The application for beneficiaries is temporarily closed as of July 11, 2020. Stay tuned to NCLB’s social media accounts for updates.


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