Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Madrasah educator in Maguindanao del Norte benefits from Smart’s School-in-a-Bag

The lack of madaris or Islamic schools has been a challenge in Sultan Kudarat, one of the most populated municipalities in the province of Maguindanao del Norte. Driven by the desire to help young Muslims who could not be accommodated in public schools, Saida Makmod-Kamansa built Sakeenah Al-Islamiyah Institute (SAI), a traditional madrasah.

“In our community, some children have to travel around 17 kilometers to Cotabato City to continue their studies. In the end, some of them will eventually drop out because of the distance and the high cost of travel. Parents also worry about their safety while they travel to their schools and back,” said Saida.


When Saida opened the madrasah in 2015, she only had 20 pupils. But in less than a decade, the school is now abuzz with more than 300 curious minds learning about their culture. As the school administrator, Saida aims for the best education for each young Muslim learner.

To help Saida reach her goal for SAI, mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) through its Madaris Volunteer Program (MVP) donated a School-in-a-Bag package to the learning center.

Offering purely Arabic lessons to connect learners with their Muslim traditions, educators at SAI, also needed to adapt their teaching method to today’s generation of technologically savvy children. “Chalk and blackboard are no longer enough to capture our pupils’ interest. Because of ADDU, MVP, and Smart, we now have the needed tools for the digitalization of our classrooms that would benefit our teachers and sustain the learning of our pupils,” Saida added.

The School-in-a-Bag is a portable digital classroom that contains a laptop for teachers and other learning devices like tablets for learners. These gadgets are pre-loaded with educational mobile applications including Tahderriyah and Ta’allam that complement madaris like SAI. The learning package also comes with connectivity devices for the teachers.


Aside from SAI, three other madaris have also benefited from the SIAB package, including Markaz Al-Huzaim, Mahad Saadah Al-Arabie Integrated School, and Hadji Ali Baganian Memorial School. This project is part of Smart and ADDU’s strong partnership in bringing technology closer to hard-to-access Muslim communities.


PLDT and Smart continue to enable learning communities through technology, as part of the group’s commitment to promote digital inclusion and help the country achieve United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal No.4: Quality Education.

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