WATCH: How to join Brigada Eskwela 2017
MANILA, Philippines – Before public elementary and high schools in the country begin classes on June 5, help repair, paint, and clean classrooms in your communities during the National Schools Maintenance Week or Brigada Eskwela.
The Brigada Eskwela, an annual volunteerism drive that brings education stakeholders together before the school year begins, will kick off on May 15 and end on May 20, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced on Thursday, May 11.
The education department is calling on local government units, companies, civic groups, and volunteers to help fix up school buildings during the week-long campaign.
This year's Brigada Eskwela will also highlight one of the Duterte administration's priorities in the education sector: the Alternative Learning System (ALS). (READ: DepEd aims to reach out-of-school youth during Brigada Eskwela)
There will be special desks in schools from May 15 to May 20 so ALS volunteers and learners can register for the program. Education Secretary Leonor Briones said on Thursday.
Another goal of Brigada Eskwela is to promote disaster preparedness in schools that are located in vulnerable areas.
In a department memo issued on March 9, Briones called on all DepEd employees to participate in Brigada Eskwela activities.
Disaster preparedness is high on the department’s agenda for this school year. School officials are tasked to make sure learning facilities are safe for learners and disaster management practices are in place.
The memo ordered all schools to:
- Post a directory of emergency contact numbers of government offices in areas around the school
- Maintain a supply of drinking water or have alternative sources of water available
- Coordinate with barangay officials for the students’ safety outside the school
What you can do
There are many ways to be a part of Brigada Eskwela.
You can clean classrooms and school surroundings. You can also help paint the classrooms, tables, and chairs.
DepEd is also encouraging volunteers to distribute emergency kits and school supplies for learners and teachers, but they should first coordinate with the school beneficiary.
Emergency kits can include first aid supplies, whistles, flashlights, and emergency numbers.
Brigada Eskwela Plus
On Thursday, the DepEd also announced Brigada Eskwela Plus, a program that will ensure school maintenance activities will happen throughout the school year.
"With Brigada Eskwela Plus, it’s our goal to improve children’s schooling until they finish basic education. The activities during Brigade Eskwela will be practiced throughout the year to ensure continuous community engagement," DepEd assistant secretary Tonisito Umali said in a video message.
The activities under Brigada Eskwela Plus include the following:
- Community-led effort to improve student participation and reduce dropouts or enroll in the ALS
- Community-led effort to improve student performance
Who to contact
Volunteers should coordinate with the schools and let them know how they intend to help, DepEd said.
Interested volunteers may directly contact the school head or principal of the nearest public school in their communities.
Business groups and non-government organizations that want to lend a hand and join Brigada Eskwela can also contact the Office of Assistant Secretary for Partnership and External Linkages or the following offices:
- External Partnerships Service in Central Office
- Rolly V. Soriano, Project Development Officer III
- Telephone: (02) 638-8637 or (02) 638-8639
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Education Support Services in regional offices
- Social Mobilization and Networking Section under the Schools Governance and Operations Divisions in SDOs
The DepEd reminded the public that there is no fee to volunteer for Brigada Eskwela.
Parents are also not required to participate in these activities to secure their children's enrollment. – With a report from Timothy Gerard Palugod/Rappler.com
Timothy Gerard Palugod is a Rappler Intern from the Lyceum of the Philippines University.