Brigada Eskwela focuses on safety, disaster preparedness PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 12:03

The Brigada Eskwela, the annual back-to-school campaign of the Department of Education (DepEd), will focus on safety and disaster preparedness this year as schools all over the City begin the arrangements for the opening of schools in June.

In his update during the regular press briefing Monday, May 19, Division of City Schools Acting Superintendent Pete Melchor Natividad said that under the overarching theme of “Making Our Schools Safer”, the 2014 Brigada Eskwela is a response to the different disasters last year which wreaked havoc not only in Zamboanga City but in other parts of the nation as well.

Aside from the usual repair and cleanup activities, a focal point of this year’s Brigada will involve the assessment and setting up of safety structures in schools. This will include the checking of electrical connections to avoid faulty wirings, clearing of drainage systems especially in schools that are flood-prone, setting up of classroom furniture properly to avoid accidents, and posting of appropriate safety and warning signs.

According to Natividad, the national thrust for safety and disaster preparedness also coincides with the City School’s own advocacy of “Mas Alegre na Eskwela”, which seeks to make schools child-friendly. He added that while their advocacy is simple, its implications, if properly implemented and collaboratively carried out, are extensive and far-reaching.

“If the children find their school a happier place to go every day, we will have improvement in enrollment and participation. While they are in the school and they are happy with the way teachers are carrying their tasks and helping them learn in the school, that will also prevent dropout, thereby improving our dropout and cohort survival rates,” emphasized Natividad.

Opportunities for learning and academic achievement will also be provided in schools which will lead to high completion rates and less idle minds, he added.

In addition to the regular Brigada Eskwela activities, DepEd also advocates collaborative Brigada Eskwela, an initiative wherein the City Schools Division adopt schools which are in dire need of help.

For their part, the Zamboanga City Schools Division will be assisting the Sta. Barbara Central School, which will be opening at the Zamboanga City East and West Central School, and the Mariki Elementary School, which will open at the Baliwasan Central School Campus.

The Division has extended the said schools financial support for the construction of fences and other infrastructures. For Mariki ES, the Baliwasan Central School has provided 9 classrooms for their use while the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided two makeshift classrooms with chairs and electrical connection.

Meanwhile, the Sta. Barbara ES will be utilizing 20 classrooms for its students, courtesy of the Zamboanga City East and West Central School, with an additional three makeshift classrooms provided by UNICEF.

“With these, we are hoping that we are bringing normalcy to the education of our Sta. Barbara CS and Mariki ES communities,” said Natividad.

The Brigada Eskwela is a week-long initiative which will run from May 19-24. It aims to encourage colunteers from the government, private sector, and community in the cleanup and repair of classrooms, and other school facilities in preparation for the school opening. — Jasmine Mohammadsali