ARMM enrollees up as peace reign in region, says DepEd PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 June 2013 17:12

The number of enrollees in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has increased in what education officials said could be attributed to the prevailing peace and order situation in the region.

Lawyer Jamar Kulayan, ARMM education secretary, said the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has made remote communities peaceful that gave an opportunity for children to go to school.

However, Kulayan could not give exact figure on the number of enrollees this year as he is still waiting for reports from the schools superintendent.

He said no single classroom in the region’s five provinces has been used as evacuation centers compared to previous years when soldiers and Moro rebels were fighting.

Public schools are the common convergence area of displaced families that made students skip classes.

“When schools are used as evacuation centers, children lost interest in their studies, thus dropping out of school,” Alibai Maruhomsalic, an elementary school teacher in Datu Piang, Maguindanao where fierce fighting in recent years displaced Moro families.

“This is the initial dividends of the peace process,” Kulayan said in a news conference.

“All schools re-opened to students. Not a single school building was used as an evacuation site in recent months,” Kulayan added.

However, Kulayan said the threats of flooding in low-lying areas in the region are the major concern of DepEd ARMM nowadays.

“We are anticipating this because we had the experience when heavy down pour occurs,” Kulayan added.

Many public schools in Maguindanao are located around the Liguasan marshland with its water level easily rise when heavy down pour occurs in the surrounding provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and even South Cotabato.The marshland serves as catch basin of water from these provinces.

Kulayan earlier announced that classes in the region went on smoothly during the first class days of school year 2013-2014 with no classroom or school teachers shortage.

ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.