PPP in Cordillera addresses problem on unenergized schools

BAGUIO CITY — Public-private partnership (PPP) has proven to be a solution to the existence of Department of Education (DepEd) schools without electricity and this is a very strong component of the “Brigada Eskwela”.

Dr. Beatrice Torno, DepEd Cordillera officer-in-charge, in a press conference on Friday noon said the volunteerism of the members of the community, the programs of the electric companies and corporate social responsibilities of private institutions have decreased the number of un-energized schools in the rural areas, especially in far-flung mountainous communities.

Torno said at present, there are only 210 schools in the region without electricity out of the 1,346 schools.

Apayao province has the most number of un-energized schools with 83; Abra, 42; Benguet, 27; Ifugao, 25; Kalinga, 16; Mountain Province, 15 and Tabuk City, 2.

Torno said, “in partnership with the community, the companies and individuals, these problems are slowly being addressed.”

Every year, there are solar panels being donated in schools which are inaccessible to transportation and difficult to energize due to many factors.

Through Brigada Eskwela, which is an annual undertaking between the DepEd and the “volunteers”, solar panels are among the donations received, enabling schools to provide electricity for lighting and to power computers used as instructional materials.

She added “Brigada Eskwela is a proof of the strong public-private partnership implemented in the country.”

Brigada Eskwela also solves the lack of chairs, cleaning and maintenance of facilities and classrooms annually raised before the opening of classes. Some even go for construction of classrooms to provide for the needs of the students in the public school system.

For School Year 2017-2018 which will formally open on June 5, Dr. Lilian Goc-oban of the DepEd Cordillera who is in-charge of the schools’ readiness for the opening of classes, reported that based on the number of schools that submitted a report before May 12 to the field technical assistance division’s school readiness assessment for the coming school opening, already ready for the opening are 68.72 percent of elementary schools, 65.28 percent of junior high schools and 19.39 senior high schools.

This is based on the available classrooms, teachers, seats and textbooks.

On classrooms, the 1:45 ratio between to students is met in the Cordillera. The ratio of teacher to students is 1:22 in the elementary and 1:26 in junior high school.

In terms of available seats, the ratio is 1:1. However, Goc-oban said that there are seats which do not meet the required classification where students have seats and a desk to place their paper or books.

Textbooks, she said, is 1:1 but there are areas where the ratio is eight students for one book.

In school year 2016-2017, the Cordillera region composed of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province including Baguio City and Tabuk City received 232,177 elementary students and 107,681 junior high school.

Brigada Eskwela 2017 in the Cordillera will kick-off on May 15 where participants will look into the condition of the classrooms, chairs, cleaning of classrooms and school grounds, and check and fix lighting systems including the electric connection of schools. Liza  Agoot/PNA-northboundasia.com