DepEd: Schools Ready to Welcome 20.8M Students

"Let's hit the ground running on June 3. Ideally, teachers should start Day 1 with Lesson 1 so that we maximize contact time with students.” This is the call of Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC as the Department of Education expresses that all systems go for the opening of School Year 2013-2014.

Nationwide, DepEd is expecting a total enrolment of 20.8 million students in all public schools tomorrow, June 3 - 1.78 million of which are Kindergarten pupils; 13.3 million are elementary and 5.7 million are high school students.

“Months before the opening of classes, the department has already taken steps to prepare all public elementary and high schools across the country. With this, we are optimistic that all our preparations are in place and are looking forward to a smooth opening of classes,” said DepEd Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC.

Aside from the continued initiatives to achieve the Education For All goal by improving the participation rate amongst students, Luistro also emphasized the department’s efforts to meet zero backlogs in basic learning resources. Currently, DepEd has addressed the shortages in textbooks and school seats while problems in classrooms, teacher items and water and sanitation facilities are expected to be resolved before 2013 ends.

On the other hand, the department has also organized its Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) campaign which established a working tie-up with various school security forces to ensure the safety of students returning to schools for School Year 2013-2014.

The OBE-Information and Action Center Task Force has also been established at the DepEd Central Office to address common problems encountered during school opening, provide information and coordinate with government agencies, communities and other educational stakeholders. It will be open until June 7.

“"I also call on school heads to start S.Y. 2013-2014 with their community leaders. From the parents to local leaders to representatives of the PNP, everyone who has a stake in the future of our children should be there to usher in the new school year. The only way to achieve higher outcomes in these preparations is to engage all sectors of society,” added Luistro.

Government agencies involved are: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of National Defense (DND) Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Energy (DOE), Philippine National Police (PNP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Institute of VOlcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services and Administration (PAGASA). Private corporations involved in the delivery of services for the education sector such as Manila Water, Maynilad, MWSS, and MERALCO are also part of the task force.

Luistro also enjoins the community to participate in the flag raising ceremony of their respective schools."The first flag ceremony can include stakeholders such as parents and the local government to send the message, especially to our pupils, that education is a community affair. It takes an entire village to educate a child, therefore we must involve everyone on the first day of school.”

Meanwhile, DepEd continues to remind the parents and school administrators that basic public education is free and that no collection should be done in Kindergarten up to Grade 4 anytime during School Year 2013-2014 while for Grade 5 up to Grade 10, no collection shall be made for the entire month of June and July, as per DepEd Order No. 41 series of 2012.

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