BRIGADA ESKWELA 2012: Making the School a Home for Learning
By Teresita E. Sibayan, Principal I, Dampe Elementary School
On May 21, 2012,Monday, students, teachers, parents, baranggay officials, and other concerned citizens gathered in front of the Dampe Elementary School to mark the start of Brigada Eskwela – an event which also signified the beginning of School Year 2012-2013. A parade led by the PTA members through the aid of baranggay officials and other volunteers served as the preliminary activity on its first day. That day will be remembered as one of the very productive and actively-participated event of the school year.
For the benefit of those who do not know what Brigada Eskwela is, here are some of its whereabouts:
Brigada Eskwela at first glance is the modern day bayanihan. Its concept was practically derived from the “sama-sama,” “tulong-tulong,” and “pagkakaisa” mentality of the Filipino people, of course without anything financial in return of the deeds and services rendered therein.
But Brigada Eskwela is a thing not just limited to the very concept of bayanihan where a transfer of one’s nipa hut from one place to another, or harvesting of one’s rice field is being made. Brigada Eskwela stresses the importance of creating a school facility and environment that is built and maintained by the people, of the people, and for the people. It also magnifies the idea that proper taking care of, and maintenance of school facilities and properties are not sole responsibility of the administrators and its personnel but also of its stakeholders – mainly the students and their parents.
TRACING ITS ORIGIN…
Brigada Eskwela, also known as National Schools Maintenance Week, is the logical extension of the objectives stated in the Republic Act 8525 or the Adopt-A-School Act of 1998. Originally, this law was sponsored by Rep. Anne Marie Periquet at the House of Representatives. But full credit goes to former DepEd Secretary Edilberto de Jesus who successfully pushed for the promulgation of the necessary Implementing Rules and Regulations from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Actual implementation of this project took its debut flight in 2003 pioneering all throughout the public school’s system of the archipelago.
On its central focus, Brigada Eskwela encourages and fosters amongst its student and youth sector the value of civic action and social-responsibility gearing toward the leveling-up of the quality of basic education system in the country. For almost a decade, Brigada Eskwela has made a significant impact on maintaining the facilities, properties, and operations of various public schools. According to ASP report, in its online press release, “over the years, the Brigada Eskwela effort has evolved from a week-long cleaning-up and beautification exercise to a festive coming together of students, teachers, school officials, parents, community members, local government officials, non-government organizations, church groups, and the private sector.”
Fairly recently, Brigada Eskwela Secretariat also formulated and provided “Brigada Eskwela Manual for School Heads” – this 18-page document provides public school principals and school heads with a practical, step-by-step guide to getting the widest community participation for Brigada Eskwela. Surely, this project has been organized and implemented, one, for the purpose of advancing professional, administrative, and leadership skills of teachers and administrators of public schools where they are given both the chance and the opportunity to deal and communicate with people of various walks of life – formally educated or otherwise. Second, it has also helped strengthen the relationship of school to the community where it is housed – the families, baranggay, PTA, and other institution.
For Education Sec. Bro. Armin Luistro, Brigada Eskwela aims to:
- make the school ready for the teachers and students;
- engage participation of community stakeholders in education; and
- revive the bayanihan spirit among Filipino youth.
Lastly, according to DepEd, Brigada Eskwela is perhaps the most successful brand of community mobilization in its arsenal. The program name itself is easily identified as the national school maintenance and repair program. On its own, Brigada Eskwela has generated over P10billion in savings in man-hour services and donations in kind and had 100% participation of over 45,000 schools nationwide in addition to its mother volunteering and school adoption program called Adopt-a-School. Brigada Eskwela also offers a more direct means of intervention through volunteerism and a mechanism for quick, efficient, and effective information dissemination of information to share best practices.
On May 21, 2012,LET US START! Monday, students, teachers, parents, baranggay officials, and other concerned citizens gathered in front of the Dampe Elementary School to mark the start of Brigada Eskwela – an event which also signified the beginning of School Year 2012-2013. A parade led by the PTA members through the aid of baranggay officials and other volunteers served as the preliminary activity on its first day. Accomplished tasks on this day, include: cleaning of surroundings – cutting of grasses over the school land, fixing the classroom and its facilities, and trimming of trees. Concerned individuals donated goods and food for the volunteers. The baranggay officials donated 12 bags of cement and half-truck of sand.
2nd day (May 22). REPAIR DAY! Skilled workers were already present. Carpenters started repairing and fixing broken windows, dilapidated ceilings, destroyed door knobs and locks, and desks and arm chairs. They also helped in rearranging the plant boxes.
3rd day (May 23). LET US PAINT! Walls, blackboards, and ceilings were painted by the volunteer painters and artists, using also donated paints and paint brushes. Classroom floorings were also repaired in order to cater a better learning venue for the students and a harmonious teaching realm for teachers.
4th day (May 24). REPAIR DAY, AGAIN! A malfunctioned jetmatic motor pump and leaked pipe lines were repaired by the volunteer plumbers assisted by the PTAs. Other outdoor and backyard arrangements were also made to be fixed.
5th day (May 25). RENNOVATION! The office of the principal was transferred from the corner area of the school ground to the central room facing the entrance of the school. Paintings, repairs, and wall placement were also finished. Solicited PTA funds were used for this.
6th day (May 26). FINISHING TOUCHES! All repairs and changes being made in the past days were checked and rechecked. Finishing touches for paintings, repairs, and rearrangement were made by the volunteers to make a school ready for the opening of classes. Teachers also prepared their papers and posted lists of students in respective classrooms. A “smiley” and “mabuhay” for every door of the classroom were also posted.