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Villafuerte, DepEd Sign Landmark Pact

Camarines Sur Governor Luis R. Villafuerte forged last January 17 a landmark agreement with DepEd Bicol Regional Director Teresita Diaz Naz expected to result in the institutionalization of Montessori-type preschools in the public school system in the province.

The memorandum of agreement, in effect, allows the provincial government under its Headstart program to establish as many free Montessori-type preschools as necessary throughout all 35 towns in the province including Naga City and Iriga City, provided that the DepEd shall also have supervisory and monitoring powers over the preschool centers.

It is the first such agreement between DepEd and a local government unit and the ceremony was considered historic and of great importance to the program on education of the provincial government.

Governor Villafuerte signed the agreement on behalf of the province while the DepEd was represented by Director Naz, Camarines Sur Schools Division Superintendent Lucita Ano, Naga City Schools Division Superintendent Ma. Amy Oyardo and Iriga City Schools Division Superintendent Nenita L. Ramos.

Witnesses were Ms. Pura Luisa V. Magtuto, consultant of the Headstart program and Dominador C. Alarkon, Jr., chief, Multimedia Education Center.

Governor Villafuerte has already established 26 Montessori-type preschools throughout the province since the inception of the program in 1987. His goal is to set up at least one such preschool in each of the 35 municipalities in the province and in Naga City and Iriga City.

Montessori-type preschool education is normally enjoyed only by children of rich families in the urban centers but in Camarines Sur it is almost entirely for free. Governor Villafuerte firmly subscribes to the precept that a good preschool program would lead to the establishment of a solid foundation for the over-all academic and personality development of the child.

Governor Villafuerte's free preschool program is just one of his many thrusts towards education which he considers a paramount concern for the government.

Other programs on education of the provincial government include LRV Learning System for Grade 1 where reading is the core subject while other subjects are simply integrated into it, and the LRV Upgraded Curriculum Program for the secondary education where proficiency in English is amplified by doubling the time allotted in teaching the language.

In the Alternative Tertiary Program community colleges are set up in farflung towns in Camarines Sur with government colleges simultaneously opening extension classes and the provincial government providing logistical and administrative support.

He also has scholarship programs for midwives, cultural minorities and barangay health workers. Another crucial education-related undertaking is the on-going computer program benefitting Capitol and non-Capitol employees, students teachers and out-of-school youth.