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DepEd's 'Brigada Eskwela' school cleanup starts Monday

May 18, 2013 4:53pm

Starting this Monday, education officials, parents and teachers will take part in the annual "Brigada Eskwela" school cleanup program to prepare for the coming school year.

Department of Education assistant secretary Tonesito Umali said the Brigada Eskwela will be held from May 20 to 24, radio dzBB reported Saturday.

Umali said they will prioritize the repair of water and toilet facilities to ensure students have a stable and safe supply of drinking water as well as sufficient sanitation.

But the dzBB report said the DepEd expects the Brigada Eskwela to be more "challenging" due to campaign litter from the recently concluded elections.

Posters and tarpaulins had been plastered on schools, especially those used as polling centers, for last Monday's polls.

The DepEd had set May 20 to 24 as "National Schools Maintenance Week," though the event is better known as Brigada Eskwela, a voluntary effort of teachers and school heads, parents and the local community stakeholders to conduct school maintenance.

Balik eskwela

An earlier news release on the Official Gazette website said the DepEd also scheduled a one-week preparation period in the last week of May for the start of School Year 2013-2014.

Dubbed Operation Balik Eskwela (OBE), the one-week period from May 27 to 31 seeks to ensure the smooth opening of classes in the first week of June.

Also, a Public Assistance Station (PAS) program will be held from June 1 to 8, the first week of classes.

"The annual OBE and PAS address the problems that usually crop up during school opening and see to it that school children are in their respective classrooms and buckling down to lessons at the first day of the school year," the DepEd said.

Earlier, DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said the school calendar for 2013-2014 shows classes start June 3 and end March 31, 2014.

Convergence of govt agencies

The OBE involves the convergence of government agencies so that all concerns associated with school opening are factored in.

An OBE Inter-Agency Task Force will implement the program. It has representatives from:

- Department of Trade and Industry
- Department of National Defense
- Department of Interior and Local Government
- Department of Public Works and Highways
- Department of Health
- Philippine National Police
- Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

The DepEd also said an Information and Action Center (IAC) will be set up at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan of its central office in Pasig City.

It said the IAC will "serve as the communication hive of all school-opening concerns and issues." — LBG, GMA News
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