By the last quarter of 1996,
as the Retired Interim School Board Chair, I was relegated to talking about history in
school assemblies that were held in the school yard under the Jeddah night skies.
Following is the text of the most
elaborate history speech I delivered, marking the anniversary of one year of the PESJ and
some three years of the struggle:
THE PESJ HISTORY
The Honorable Prof.
Abdulhussein Kashim, Attaché for Education and Foreign Information Officer of the Phil.
Embassy in Riyadh, The Honorable Atty. Abraham Malli, our Labor Attaché in Jeddah, The
Honorable Iriles Ladjabassal, our OWWA Welfare Officer, our new Principal, Mrs. Nenita
Palmero, honorable members of the newly-elected School Board, honorable members of the old
Interim School Board, dear children, parents, teachers and staff of the IPSJ Science
Section, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen : good evening.
My task tonight is to read
to you the history of our young school. This is not an easy task. If I were to give
justice to this colorful and dramatic history, we should spend a whole day talking about
it. However, I have condensed this into a four page document, which I hope I can read to
you in about 20 minutes. Please bear with me.
My purpose in reading to
you this history is not to agitate you but rather to educate and enlighten you. The
parents who know this history very well have already come to terms with this past, and
they will not forget; they have learned their lessons very well. The new members of our
community will be better off knowing this history because they too can learn from it, and
will have a better appreciation about the ideals and collective efforts that build this
school to what it is now and to what it can be tomorrow:
Inspired by the mid-1993
school crisis in the Phil. Embassy School in Riyadh which blew up to become a major media
event among the Filipinos in the Kingdom at that time, the OCW parents in the Phil. School
in Jeddah started agitating for reforms in the PSJ.
Jan 1 and 2, 1994
By the first week of 1994,
the dismal situation of the PSJ was the topic of a full page investigative reporting by
Arab News, published in two parts datelined Jan. 1 and 2, 1994.
The articles spoke at
length of PSJ parents complaints and concerns, summarized as follows: quality problems in
the standard of education, exorbitant cost of education, the lack of financial
transparency, and the lack of adequate facilities.
In Feb. 14, 1994,
concerned parents of the PSJ met to organize the PSJ Parents Association led by Jun Credo
as President of the association and Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin as vice-president. The PA
immediately embarked on discussions with school and consulate officials for much needed
reforms in the school.
May 1994 saw the changing
of the School Directorship from the previous Congen to the new Congen. The PA continued
discussions with the new Congen about PSJ improvements which unfortunately were not
happening, inspite of our constant reminders and insistence.
The opening of the SY
1994-95, was however met with optimism when the Congen announced the revival of the
Parents-Teachers Council after almost seven years of being suppressed.
Thus in October 1994, the
PTC officials of the PSJ were elected into office with Dr. Bahjin as the president, Jun
Credo, as the First VP, and majority of the PTC officials coming from the Parents
Association. Mrs. Belma Regis was further appointed as one of the Teacher-Reps to the PTC,
and one who turned out to be very much pro-parent in her views and actions.
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