Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
This year’s National Schools Maintenance Week, popularly known as the “Brigada Eskwela” of the Department of Education starts today, and this week public schools will be tapping their students and respective communities to clean and prepare their schools for the incoming school year. Education Secretary Armin Luistro says the major thrust of the 2012 Brigada Eskwela is the improvement of toilets and wash facilities to give emphasis on the importance of school sanitation and hygiene.
Brigada Eskwela mobilizes parents, teachers, students, civic and business groups, local government units and other community residents in repairing and sprucing up schools two weeks before the opening of classes in June. It started in 2003 and has to date generated an equivalent amount of over P2 billion from donations in kind and man-hours spent in school repairs that would have otherwise been taken from the maintenance and other operating expenses of public schools. All of the 45,000 public elementary and secondary nationwide are mandated to take part in the Brigada Eskwela week.
Many local governments and government programs could learn from the example that has been set by the Brigada Eskwela initiative that has successfully harnessed the uniquely Filipino bayanihan spirit to improve the situation of our public schools despite the lack of funds and resources. It may be nearly impossible to replicate the scale and success of the DepEd has achieved in taking advantage of the spirit of volunteerism, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt for creative and forward thinking local executives and government officials to see if they can apply the Brigada Eskwela model to harness the untapped resources that are apparently available with the proper motivation for applicable community based projects and activities that can benefit the common good.*