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Age no barrier for 40-yr-old Grade 1 student


LAOAG CITY - When classes opened at the Amarosa Elementary School in Laoag City in the province of Ilocos Norte, northern Philippines, one student visibly kept a low profile in a Grade 1 classroom filled with mostly seven-year-old pupils.

He is Jay Caliboso, a 40-year-old farmer who had been stricken with polio that crippled his right foot.
He drew the interest of his young classmates, not because of his age or disability, but because their teachers have been referring to him as someone who should be emulated.
Caliboso works as a farm caretaker for a Hawaii-based relative in a village here, where he plants vegetables which he sells at the local market.
But because he has no formal education, Caliboso occasionally encounters problems distinguishing the paper bills handed to him as payment for his produce.
So he sold his vegetables at fixed prices of 20 Philippine pesos (43 cents) and 50 Philippine pesos (US$1.08), the bills which he is most familiar with. To avoid having to deal with weighing scales, which he could also not understand, Caliboso sold his vegetables in bundles instead of per kilogram.
Caliboso had migrated here from Abulug town in Cagayan province.
His relatives in Hawaii promised to finance his schooling, so he worked up the courage to enroll in Grade 1 at Amarosa (the name is an acronym of the villages of Apaya, Mangato and Sta. Rosa).
Although Caliboso wanted to be unnoticed in class, he became the most visible student on the first day of school.
The school principal, Joel Remigio, welcomed students by pointing to Caliboso, saying the 40-year-old Grade 1 student should serve as an inspiration.
Remigio said Caliboso is the first adult to enroll in Grade 1 in the school. He asked other students to treat “Kuya Jay” with respect and discouraged them from making fun of him.
“Despite his age, we know he has the will to learn,” Remigio said, adding that the school had assigned a highly competent teacher to handle Caliboso’s class.
Caliboso need not stick around with very young children in the future, however.
The Accreditation and Equivalency Programme of the Department of Education allows adults like Caliboso to take the Philippine Educational Placement Test, which will determine if he is qualified for grade level acceleration.
This programme has been designed for out-of-school youths who return to the formal school system.
Like most students in the city, Caliboso went to school at 7:30am on Monday for what was described as a smooth school opening.
 

Published : June 17, 2016

By : Leilanie Adriano Philippine D