In SY 2009-2010, the Department of Theology, through the efforts of Roberto “Bobby” Guevarra and Michael “Lib” Liberatore, engaged ACED as a partner in the Seniors Praxis Program. Through the partnership, seniors of the Loyola Schools are able to join ACED in its efforts to improve the quality of public school education in the Philippines. Senior students taking Theology 141 are given the opportunity to join profiling visits to public schools in two of ACED’s major areas of operation – Parañaque City and Quezon City.
Students who choose to join ACED areas undergo a day-long profiling workshop to prepare them for their area insertion. In the workshop, students are briefed on the methods used in profiling visits. More specifically, they go through simulations of focus group discussions, interviews, class observations and facilities checks.
During the actual area insertion, the immersion students visit public schools to sit with the different members of the school community – principal, teachers, parents and students – and discuss issues and challenges that the local community faces. The immersion students are also given a first-hand view of regular classroom lectures and of the general status of public school facilities.
Central to the ACED immersion process is the writing of the school profile report. After the are insertion, immersion students are tasked to accomplish a school profile report relating in detail information they gathered in the profiling visit. They are also tasked to process and incorporate quantitative data about the school in the profile report.
At the end of the entire immersion process, students are given an opportunity to contemplate and understand their experience in the context of a Catholic social vision. Guided by an ACED Project Staff Profiler, students reflect on the various issues that inhabit the Philippine public school system and on interventions that may address them.
Overall, the ACED Immersion Program aims to open a window through which senior students of the Loyola Schools may perceive the world at large. At the end of the process, it is hoped that those who join the program will have gained an understanding of education as an important social sector; an understanding enlightened by a Christ-centered faith. Finally, it is the goal of the program to motivate the immersion students to be more actively involved in efforts to uplift the quality of public school education in the country.