It is never too late to congratulate Cagayan de Oro City, the City of Golden Friendship, for winning an education governance award.
For the second year Cagayan de Oro was awarded the Seal of Good Education Governance during the recent 12th Washington Sycip National Education Summit held in Manila.
The award is given by the Synergia Foundation, a coalition of persons, institutions and organizations committed to work with local governments in improving the quality of education in their areas.
On hand to receive the award were Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno and Councilor Suzette Magtajas-Daba, chairperson of the City Council's education committee.
I asked the councilor how she felt on receiving the award and she said she was ecstatic. She said the award is a defining moment for Cagayan de Oro City Hall as it represented a synergy of efforts by everyone there to improve education for the underprivileged in the city.
The award meant that Cagayan de Oro checked all the boxes required to win it. What is significant is that increased spending for education as seen through an expanded Local School Board and empowerment of the school's councils.
When I covered the education beat during my time as a local media practitioner I didn't know anything about governance in education. There were school boards but they were more for compliance to the Local Government Code.
Don't tell me that these school boards worked silently on their projects without any inputs whatsoever. There are 600 schools built in the city and only the mayor and the council know how much more are needed.
Still that is a huge undertaking. Schools built far and near the city but especially those built in the mountains to allow children to study without having to cross rivers to reach the nearest school.
More schools mean more opportunities for our children to acquire a good education. That to my simple mind is what is good education governance is all about.
Education is neglected by elective public officials since students aren't voters. But not Mayor Oscar Moreno, who believed that making education accessible to the less fortunate is possible.
His appointment of the right people in the local school board and building schools is a crystal clear manifestation of his commitment to education governance. For education liberates humanity from poverty.
I count myself one of those liberated from poverty. My father would always remind us that every book we read and study brings us closer to our dreams for a better life.
My family worked hard for our education but the opportunities back in my day were not the same as it is now. My dream of education was only reinforced by my working at Cagayan de Oro College (COC) TV 39.
Why? There is a Latin phrase posted at the bridge at COC during the term of then school president and then congressman Erasmo Damasing which read “Educatio liberabet vos (Education shall set you free).