University of Mons - Faculty of Psychology and Education (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 6576-6584
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Despite a rapid economic growth and a medium human development, 26.5% of the Philippine population still lived, in 2009, under the national poverty line, sometimes in very precarious conditions (World Bank, 2013; UNDP, 2013). Indeed, shanty towns continue to grow in major cities: in Manila, nearly half of the population actually lives in over 500 slums located near public dumps or swamps (ANAK, 2012). Millions of children try to survive in these conditions: malnutrition, disease, forced labor, violence and, obviously, school dropouts are part of their daily lives. Education for All is a global priority to overcome poverty. But access to formal education remains almost impossible for all these street children. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds face more cognitive, emotional and social disorders. They probably experience more emotional and attentional difficulties (Zaouche-Gaudron, 2005; Barudy & Dantagnan, 2007). However, some institutions try to support the development of these children, offering them the opportunity to incorporate a school structure. This is the case of Makabata School Foundation, Inc. (MSFI) which hosts, in Pasig City, one hundred children from the slums of Manila. It is a non-profit foundation whose objectives are to help less fortunate Filipino children to study for free, to provide them a holistic, formal and non-formal education, to inculcate them human dignity, to develop basic skills for out of-school youth and to establish a network for their future employment (MSFI, 2013). Our research focused on the case of these pupils. Our aim was to understand how the children we met and interviewed perceive their daily life and the role of the school on their development and future prospects. Are the difficulties associated with the daily reality of slums moderated by their schooling? How do these children juggle their daily life between educational opportunities and consequences of poverty? Our study is an empirical analysis based on the immersion of a researcher, during three months, within the Filipino school. While implementing participant observation, we collected data from ten students and six teachers. The drawing was used to approach pupils' representations of their experiences from different perspectives (family, living environment, school, future). The interview and questionnaire survey were used to complete our research and better understand their experiences. Data were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. Overall, MSFI schooled children seem to be happy despite their living conditions. We could consider that the schooling reduces the negative effects of the environment. However, our results do not fully confirm this hypothesis. The imagination seems to be very important for them and appears to be used in an attempt to manage and cope with the daily challenges. The projection into the future does not seem anxiogenic, although it appears very realistic. The role of the school seems ambiguous: on the one hand, children feel proud to have been chosen, "elected" to integrate the school; on the other hand, this selection put the pressure on them. School success appears to be the only possibility to get out of the slums and to achieve a better future. Our paper will present conceptual and contextual issues of the problematic, the synthesis and a debate of our analysis which allow us to contribute to a better understanding of life and schooling experiences of slum children.
Education rights, slum children, high poverty, social inclusion, society development.