The school in Bendum is a source of great pride to the community and increasingly to the Department of Education. Like any school, it has its difficulties and part of the reality is absenteeism and dropout. The school in Bendum is a source of great pride to the community and increasingly to the Department of Education. Like any school, it has its difficulties and part of the reality is absenteeism and dropout.
While there are 145 children in school learning with the majority of them are residents of Bendum, about 20% have left the school to find a job or help in the farm to support their parents and siblings. Others have lost their interest and felt they lacked support from their parents.
Learning to speak, read, write and count in the local environment strengthens Pulangiyen culture and ecology
Absences are common in the kindergarten and in lower daweg (grades). Students may not be encouraged to go to school, while others who are older need to take care of their younger siblings, or they are ill. Sometimes, during the harvest period of corn and ginger, some students are off from school to work as labourers in the field.
Bendum is a beautiful landscape yet people are living at the margin, where most of them live by subsistence. As we provide basic education in the Upper Pulangi, we are challenged to not just ‘nourish’ their minds but also establish an education that sustains their culture and values towards a more sustainable life in the valley.