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Good eyesight, key to good children’s education


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “Train the child in the way that he should go and he will never depart from it when he goes old…” (Proverbs 22:6, the Holy Bible).

GOOD EYESIGHT, KEY TO CHILDREN’S CAPACITY TO LEARN: Classifying the intelligence levels, or, maybe, the capacity to learn, of millions and millions of very young Filipino school children across the country has taken a very important, if greatly interesting, twist, as the National Capital Region of the Department of Education is finding out.

With the help of well-meaning friends from here and abroad, particularly from a group of socio-civic spirited citizens composed of medical doctors and professionals which goes by the name of Physicians for Peace Philippines, Metro Manila education officials are realizing that, having a good eyesight, or, conversely, having problems with their eyes, play a vital role in the child’s interest and ability to absorb and understand what is being taught to him and his school mates.

Now, it is no longer a simple matter of the school children being taught how to read and write, or even add or subtract. With the help of Physicians for Peace under the leadership of its executive director, Lyne Abanilla of the Manila Bulletin, it has become a matter of determining, first and foremost, the eye condition of the children through free refraction, and then giving them free eyeglasses to correct their sight defect or impairment, through a program called “Save the Sight of a Child”.

QC SCHOOL CHOSEN FOR “SAVE THE SIGHT OF A CHILD”: This kind of a vision correction program among the young was officially launched in Metro Manila schools last August 27, 2013, after two postponements caused by the onslaught of Typhoon Maring and the monsoon rains the week before. The school chosen to be the pilot testing ground for the program is the Kamuning Elementary School in Scout Torillo, Quezon City.

Eye defects, it turned out, disabled many students from seeing clearly, thereby removing or greatly diminishing their capacity to read and fully appreciate what their  teachers were teaching them. Once they were given corrective eyeglasses, however, their capacity to understand their lessons vastly improved, making them eager pupils from then on.

Using this lesson, the Physicians-for-Peace Philippines has embarked in an effort to weed out eye defects among young school children. In various places in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, Abanilla had been bringing more eyeglasses, and an increasing number of eye doctor volunteers, to conduct the refraction and the examination of the eyes of the children.

BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR CHILDREN: These efforts are actually a part of a program which Abanilla and her colleagues at the Physicians-for-Peace and Rotary International have called as the “Save the Sight for a Child ”, an objective of which is empower teachers of pupils who are in public elementary schools across the country to know whether their wards are suffering from eye defects or not.

This program is now furiously, albeit slowly, being realized. The doctor-volunteers are now teaching teachers with the rudiments of eye refraction, and how to list down the needed corrective glasses of their own pupils. The records of the children found with defects are then forwarded to Abanilla, who would then approve the issuance of the glasses.

Indeed, the whole exercise is turning out to be much more than a mere giving away of free eyeglasses to the youth. It was in fact a confirmation of a commitment from socio-civic and charitable leaders to provide children with a brighter future. For, every child whose eye defects have been corrected acquires the opportunity to learn better, and therefore capacitate himself or herself to reach beyond the poor and squalid surroundings he had been born to.

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By Atty. Batas Mauricio

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