Amid the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, SM Foundation (SMFI) remains a catalyst for change in the education sector as it turns over its 103rd SM school building to Banisil National High School (BNHS) on February 19 in General Santos City.
Through the support from SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), this effort was made possible to better equip the teachers and students of BNHS with quality academic facilities once the conduct of face-to-face classes are permitted.
In 2012, the BNHS received its first SM school building – but being the only secondary school in Barangay Tambler, BNHS recorded a significant increase in their enrollment per year. With this challenge, the SM Foundation decided to provide another edifice of hope for the sub-urban Muslim community, addressing the growing needs of BNHS learners and teachers.
Consistent with the disaster resilient design of an SM school building, the newly constructed two-story, four-classroom school building has 200 armchairs with specially made chairs for left-handed students, four sets of teacher’s table/chair, 16 wall fans, eight concave panoramic whiteboards, four wall clocks, and four washrooms with flush toilets and washbasins. A new-persons-with disability (PWD) ramp leading to a spacious PWD washroom complete with handrails, flush toilet, washbasin and a concrete tiled bench have been added for the comfort of PWDs.
The SMFI also installed a 10-faucet handwashing facility, with a 500-liter water tank, to promote proper hygiene. Moreover, a dedicated green space (with concrete tables and benches) for learners were also provided to promote environmental consciousness.
The SM School building also has a dedicated room for each of the following: a clinic cum isolation room, a book corner, and a guidance room.
In addition to the facility, SGV & Co., through SM Foundation, donated 10 laptops for the teachers of BNHS which they can use in holding their virtual classes. At this time of pandemic, these digital tools are important to ensure the delivery of quality education.
BNHS principal Shiela Balbon expressed her sincerest gratitude to SM, “Our salute to our longtime partner, SM Foundation and SM Prime, for being so generous and proactive in providing us with school buildings that are conducive to learning. We are so grateful for your extended support to our school amidst the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, SM Foundation School Building Program head Juris Soliman reaffirmed the organization’s commitment in bringing social good projects, especially in terms of education, to SM’s host communities, “Just like all of us, SM recently braved the obstacles of six strong typhoons, Taal Volcano eruption and the most turbulent, the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite of these hardships, we will continue to bring our school building program to our host communities.”
SM Foundation, through its School Building Program, is an active partner of DepEd’s Adopt-a-School program which aims to promote quality public education by building classrooms nationwide. To date, it has turned over more than 100 school buildings to grassroots communities nationwide.