PASIG CITY – The Brigada Eskwela initiative of the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to generate higher support every year from education stakeholders since its first kick-off in 2003.
In a recent press conference at the DepEd Central Office, Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali recalled how this effort evolved since its first implementation, “Noong 2003, hindi pa mandatory para sa ating paaralan ang pagsali sa Brigada. Only around 30% of our schools participated that time. But in 2007, it increased to 100% school voluntary participation.”
This increase in school participation—noting its non-mandatory status—led to the issuance of a Department Order in 2008, which enjoined all DepEd schools to participate yearly in the Brigada Eskwela activities.
Furthermore, Umali also cited the increase in the generated resources from education stakeholders. From the generated resources and support in 2012 amounting to P1,519,575,657.13, it increased to P7,263,949,535.83 in 2016.
“With these figures, kitang kita po natin kung paano naging matagumpay ang Brigada Eskwela sa pagsulong ng mga taon,” Umali said.
“For this year, 2017, if we equal what we have done last year, that by itself is already an achievement. But I’m sure that we will surpass it,” Umali added.
Call for participation
In the same press conference, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, together with ASec. Umali, Undersecretary Jesus Mateo, and External Partnerships Service (EPS) Director Margarita Ballesteros, invited all education stakeholders to participate in the Brigada Eskwela 2017 from May 15 to 20.
For this year’s Brigada Eskwela, Briones mentioned that aside from school maintenance activities, other efforts such as the anti-illegal drug use campaign lectures, distribution of pencils gathered under the One Million Lapis Campaign, and opening of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) registration desk, will also be conducted at the national kick-off in Cebu City.
“Many of our children are still unable to join the formal learning system. With all its improvements and opportunities, meron pa ring hindi nakakaabot dahil sa poverty, school’s distance, early marriages, etc.,” Briones said on the opening of the ALS registration desk.
Briones shared that the Education Department is expecting around 500-1000 Brigada volunteers and people from the community in Cebu City to register in the ALS registration desk.
Furthermore, other activities such as earthquake and fire drills, Rabies Awareness Campaign, and tree/vegetable planting are set to be conducted in selected schools nationwide.
The whole DepEd Executive Committee (ExeCom) and other DepEd officials are set to spread and visit all regions to participate, and monitor the successful conduct of the Brigada Eskwela 2017.