Issue of May 27, 2012
Mt. Province

64th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Brigada Eskwela seen as relief for all schools
by Harley Palangchao

The biggest public schools in Baguio led Monday’s launching of the Department of Education’s Brigada Eskwela, a program that has been helping the agency save money from repair and improvement of school buildings and facilities.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan lauded the full support of the Baguio Schools District Office and the principals of the biggest elementary and public schools to the program. He said this must be sustained.

The launch of brigada came more than two weeks before the formal opening of school year 2012-2013 on June 4.

It is expected that close to 250,000 kindergarten and elementary pupils and high school students are expected to troop to various schools in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Baguio, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province this year.

The number of enrollees in  kindergarten, elementary, and high school in the Cordilleras in the previous school year was 248,495.

Since its launch in 2003, Brigada Eskwela has helped some 45,000 public elementary and high schools nationwide annually, according to DepEd.

One of the Baguio schools helping the DepEd save funds  from repair and improvement of school buildings and equipment is vying for another title as one of best implementers of the Brigada Eskwela.

Last year, Mabini Elementary School in Baguio was adjudged best regional implementer of Brigada Eskwela under the Big School Elementary Category and it represented the region in the national search.

Mabini Elementary School principal Dr. Esther Litilit said Thursday there were more groups and individuals who helped them prepare the school and other facilities than last year.

This year, the program emphasizes on the importance of school sanitation and hygiene, which means improvement of toilets and wash facilities.

DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro said when schools promote hygiene, they also help develop learners who are conscious of their own health and personal well-being.

“Our thrust in this year’s Brigada Eskwela is on school sanitation because it is also where personal hygiene is reinforced among our students which can, in turn, help develop their self-esteem,” Luistro said.

Meanwhile, Baguio City National High School Principal Elma Donaal said BCNHS, together with its 11 annexes, are prepared despite the problem on the lack of classrooms and teachers which has been plaguing most public schools for years now.

“Walang hindi matatanggap. We are not closing our doors. We have been used to the lack of classrooms and we can assure that we could accommodate everybody,” Donaal said.

She said there’s no reason for students not to enroll. “They are all supposed to go to school, and no one must be left behind, since they would not be obliged to pay fees during enrollment,” Donaal said.

As before, Donaal said BCNHS will have around 60 to 65 students per classroom, except for the special science classes which stick to around 45 students per classroom.

The student to classroom ratio will improve once additional classrooms are constructed. At the moment, the schools are still waiting for the additional nine classrooms promised by the government.

BCNHS’ first round of enrollees, including incoming grade 7 students, totaled to about 2,500 to 3,000 and they are expecting to welcome more or less around 3,000 enrollees up to the June 4 school opening. Last year, the school accommodated 6,500 students.

In 2009, the DepEd reported it was able to save P5.7 billion in repair works after more than five million individuals volunteered to repair and clean up the schools nationwide.

The department has reported it was able to save a huge amount courtesy of the Brigada Eskwela, adding that the supposed budget for repair of school buildings and other facilities can be realigned to other equally important projects and programs.

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