At the annual kick-off of Brigada Eskwela held at Tarlac National High School, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte highlighted the importance of the “bayanihan” or the community cooperation spirit in ensuring the success of this initiative.
Speaking at the event, Duterte brought attention to the Department Order No. 21, series of 2023, detailing the Brigada Eskwela Implementing Guidelines. This order was crafted to bolster partnership engagement activities and guarantee alignment with the “MATATAG” Agenda.
The “MATATAG” or “Stable” Agenda seeks to make education more relevant, aiming to churn out competent, job-ready, and responsible citizens. The agenda pushes for quicker delivery of basic education facilities and plans to construct around 6,000 resilient classrooms by the end of 2023. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of learner well-being, promoting inclusivity in education, and a positive learning atmosphere. It also focuses on providing adequate support to teachers.
Drawing a parallel between Brigada Eskwela and bayanihan, Duterte remarked, “Brigada Eskwela [or] Schools Maintenance Week calls on the inherent community spirit of Filipinos to collectively prepare our educational institutions for the new academic session.”
This year’s Brigada Eskwela, under the banner “Bayanihan Para sa Matatag na Paaralan,” is a salute to nationwide volunteer efforts. The campaign strives to offer students, educators, and other school staff a safe, inclusive, child-centric, and resilient academic environment.
“We’ve simplified the Brigada Eskwela process,” Duterte explained, referring to the recent Department Order. “We aim to make schools functional, clean, and orderly in all respects, be it inside classrooms or the larger school premises.”
Brigada Eskwela, set to run from August 14 to 19, looks forward to more engagement from local governments, communities, businesses, NGOs, and other collaborators at both local and national levels. Their support will ensure schools are primed for reopening on August 29.
To this effect, DepEd has already secured around PHP44 million in donations for schools across the country, with Tarlac National High School receiving about PHP1.6 million.
Shifting its focus from competition to pure voluntarism, DepEd disclosed that the national-level awards such as Best Implementing School, Hall of Fame, and Brigada Plus would be discontinued. Nevertheless, recognition at school, district, or division levels for noteworthy stakeholders remains an option.
This strategic change aims to stop schools and their personnel from soliciting contributions for Brigada Eskwela events.
During the inaugural function, Duterte also toured the stalls of the 31 partner organizations of DepEd, appreciating their continuous support, contributions, and efforts towards enhancing public education across the Philippines.