This is what a typical elementary school in a province looks like: it’s in the middle of a field; its buildings, seriously damaged by rains, floods and termites, are over 50 years old; the school playground, surrounded by tall grasses, is home to rusty swings and slides; it doesn’t have enough teaching supplies and most of them do not even have their own library; most likely, it doesn’t have functioning comfort rooms.
This is what a typical student in a provincial elementary school looks like: she is small for her age and malnourished; she goes to school, not in her uniform, but in worn down clothes because her parents – who are either farmers or fisherfolks – do not have enough money for food and supplies, how much more for school uniforms; she goes to school either barefoot or wearing thin slippers; at times, she fails to attend her classes since she has to help her parents in the field or take care of her younger siblings; she has a hard time coping with her school lessons because she’s hungry; her friends are most likely, just like her.
The typical elementary school and the typical schooling child are realities in the Rissing Elementary School. The school is located in the sleepy town of Bangar, La Union. It caters to 184 typical schooling children whose parents are farmers who rent farming lands that give them meager income. The school has five buildings – four of them built during the 1960s and 1970s – that are in need of major repairs. Some have become unsafe to house schooling children, there is even one building that is infested with snakes.
Find out more about the Rissing Elementary School in the next page.