Cognizant of the mantra for education for all, the Pangasinan State University embarked on a massive education program to help the out-of-school youth (OSYs) get back to school and create job opportunities for them.
In partnership with the provincial government of Pangasinan and the local government units (LGUs), PSU launched the “Abot Kamay ang Kolehiyo: Isang Bayanihan (AKKBAY) para sa mga Out-of-School Youth” in Pangasinan on Tuesday, August 9, that aims to provide free, accessible and quality education and support services to the OSYs.
In his welcome remarks, University President Dr. Dexter R. Buted, expressed jubilation and gratitude to all the stakeholders who attended the launch for being an “agent of hope for the out-of school youth.”
The university leader said he is deeply saddened with the alarming reality that one out of eight Filipino youth are out of school and engage in odds jobs because of the lack of education triggered by poverty.
Addressing the provincial government and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan present in the event, Dr. Buted said the way to solve this problem from the roots starts from home and the education systems, thus the need to solicit coopertaion and support.
“Sa ating mga kagalang-galang na miyembro ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan, hinihingi po namin na maipasa ang isang ordinansa na naglalayong suportahan ang AKKBAY program na siya namang pagtitibayin o ia-adopt sa lebel ng ating LGUs. Mangyari pong tulungan niyo kaming gabayan at bigyan ng isang makabuluhang hinaharap ang mga OSYs sa ating probinsya,” Dr. Buted stated.
In response, Vice-Governor Mark Ronald DG. Lambino said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan welcomes the program as there is a need for enhanced level of collaboration between and among agencies for better, sustained and active engagement in all endeavors especially that he felt the burden of shifting from face-to-face classes to online learning during the pandemic.
Governor Ramon V. Guico III, represented by former Board Member Von Mark Mendoza, said he is equally happy with the start of a strengthened partnership with PSU.
“This program (AKKBAY) is very laudable. We will seriously look into this noble prgram of the PSU. The governor and the sangguniang panlalawigan are now your partners in the delivery of quality, world-calss education in the Philipines and in Asia,” Mendoza said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Celeste Mercado, director for PSU’s Student and Alumni Affairs and focal person for AKKBAY, said the program shall be open to out-of-school youth whose ages range from 18-30 years old in the province of Pangasinan who belong to the low-income or poor families. Seed money for the program is P5-million sourced from the Gender and Development Fund.
Three OSY grantees of the AKKBAY program also shared their elation onstage for the chance to go back to school after long years of temporarily setting aside education to work for their families.
A signing of commitment to support AKKBAY ensued.
Present during the event were municipal officials and social welfare and development officers of all 48 LGUs in Pangasinan, Sangguniang Kabataan federation presidents, OSY grantees and their parents.
Completing the event were the five Vice Presidents of the University, Campus Executive Directors and university officials.