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Brigada Eskwela: DepEd school clean-up initiative

Leaking roofs, dilapidated desks and chairs, unpaved grounds, and vandalized, flaking walls—this is the scenario for many public schools in the Philippines. This kind of school environment makes it hard for students to concentrate in class, leading to poor academic performance.

The Department of Education (DepEd) saw this problem so in 2003, it launched Brigada Eskwela, an annual school clean-up activity that aims to make classrooms and campuses more ideal for learning. The Brigada Eskwela program partners with teachers, school heads, students, parents, and community volunteers to refurbish and beautify public schools in the country.

This partnership has, over the years, given many students better-equipped, and more presentable classrooms and facilities. With improved learning environment, students are able to focus more on their studies and learn more effectively.   

Brigada Eskwela, while trying to reach its main goals, also brings back the spirit of bayanihan (cooperation) to local communities nationwide. It now serves as a festive get-together of many communities in the country every year. Up to this day, Brigada Eskwela continues to gain more and more support and participation among communities, private individuals and enterprises, and government and non-government organizations.

Tips for School Heads: How to participate and prepare for Brigada Eskwela

Brigada Eskwela, also dubbed as the National Schools Maintenance Week, usually happens every third week of May, before classes begin. Here are the things you, as the school head, have to do in preparation for the week-long event:

  1. Form committees. As early as January, set a meeting with the parent-teacher community association (PTCA) and other community members to form the following committees:

    • Steering committee. This committee spearheads the Brigada Eskwela Program. You will be part of this committee, together with the PTCA president, selected teachers and students, and representatives from private sector and the barangay.
    • Working committees
      1. Marketing- promotes public awareness and encourages involvement
      2. Resource mobilization- generates both material and manpower resources
      3. Program implementation- directs and monitors implementation of activities
      4. Administrative and finance- manages funds
      5. Documentation- prepares reports and documents activities through photos and videos
  2. Identify facilities that need repair and plan activities. Perform a school ocular with your school physical facilities coordinator and any PTCA member and identify the school facilities that need repair and maintenance. After this, plan your school’s activities for Brigada Eskwela with the help of the steering committee.
  3. Identify partners. The Resource Mobilization Committee of your school must determine the manpower needed for Brigada Eskwela. Possible partners are parents, alumni associations, civic and social organizations, LGUs, religious groups, business establishments, private and professional groups/individuals, as well as OFW’s. Send invites to your identified partners and request them to attend in your campaign meetings.
  4. Polish activities. Before the implementation of the Brigada Eskwela, check the readiness of your working committee. Here are some of the things that you should do:
    • Make sure that the resources you have gathered (material and manpower) are enough to meet the needs of your school
    • Finalize all the activities for the whole Brigada Eskwela Week.
    • Group the working teams according to the nature of service— masonry, carpentry, painting, plumbing, etc.—and assign team leaders for each task.
    • Make sure that the donations are in-kind, in accordance to the policy of DepEd and Adopt-A-School.
During Brigada Eskwela activities

You, as the school head, are the master of this week-long event. Here are the things you should do during the event:

  • Make sure that all activities for the day are accomplished and documented in print and/or multimedia (photo or video).
  • Ensure that all necessary work materials are available to avoid delays in doing the expected tasks.
  • Show appreciation to partners/volunteers and encourage them to come back the next day.
  • Always be visible. Your presence can inspire partners/volunteers and help sustain their interest in participating in the program.
  • If possible, provide food and drinks to volunteers/partners.
  • After each day, meet with the working committee and evaluate how the day went so necessary improvements for the next day may be planned.

For more details about Brigada Eskwela, click here.

Sources:

“Brigada Eskwela Manual.” Retrieved December 9, 2009 from
http://www.deped.gov.ph/cpanel/uploads/issuanceImg/Brigada.Eskwela.Manual.pdf
Paredes, Ducky. “Perlas: What we’ve always needed.” Retrieved December 9, 2009 from
http://www.malaya.com.ph/jul17/edducky.htm

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