DepEd Calabarzon launches Oplan Balik Eskwela 2018

MANILA To ensure the smooth opening of classes in the region, Department of Education (DepEd) Region 4-A (Calabarzon) launched on Thursday its 2018 Oplan Balik Eskwela and Public Assistance Station.

In his speech at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City, DepEd 4-A Regional Director Diosdado San Antonio said that the success of the opening of classes every year is possible by the collaboration of different government agencies.

"DepEd cannot do the job alone. We always rely on other agencies, as it is said it takes a village to educate a child. We will make sure that every qualified learner is given basic education services, and there'll be the Brigada Eskwela for the maintenance of our schools, and we expect our parents, communities to help us," San Antonio said.

In his report, DepEd 4-A Planning Officer III Karl Erikson Ebora said Calabarzon is the biggest region in in terms of population. Calabarzon consists of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

Ebora said that there are 6,964 public and private schools in the region with a total of 102,196 teachers. He said more than 3 million learners are expected to enroll for the school year 2018 to 2019 in consideration of last school year's statistics.

Quality Assurance Division Supervisor Elino Garcia said his unit ensures that parents know which schools public and private are accredited by DepEd.

"We will also be monitoring and evaluating the opening of the classes to ensure that basic educational services are effective and efficient, the delivery of basic education, see if the schools are ready for the opening of classes, the schools are safe, child-friendly and responsive," Garcia said.

Department of Health 4-A Regional Director Dr. Bruce Laxamana said the opening of classes coincides with the dengue awareness month so they have to make sure that students are well-informed about the disease its symptoms, proper cure and prevention.

"We are also (overseeing) deworming, (observing the practice of ) oral health care, weighing and checking the nutrition of the students and (checking the) practice of handwashing," Laxamana said.

He said that it is difficult for them to encourage parents about deworming vaccination "because of the resurfacing issues about Dengvaxia which is projected to last for five more years."

Apart from securing the safety and security of students and schools, Region 4-A Deputy Director for Operations Senior Supt. Nolasco Bathan said they are also enforcing the Drug Abuse Resistance (DARE) program in compliance with President Rodrigo R. Duterte's anti-drugs campaign.

He said the DARE program is composed of 12 sessions conducted by the regional police in Grade 5 and Grade 6 classes. In each session, students are taught of different techniques on how to resist drugs.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Deped Regional Office Special Investigator III Jocelyn Martin said that their division makes sure that no money is collected from the parents and students.

"Tuition is free, no money for project or activities must be collected by the teachers or principals. If there is, we will investigate immediately and they will be subject to administrative sanction, but if the collection is made by parent's association, we don't have a say on that," Martin said.

Martin also said that they are now ready for possible bullying cases this school year.

"Last year we had 10,000 cases of bullying in the region verbal, cyber bullying and physical we address them positively by giving counseling both to the bullies and the victims and their parents apart from the case investigation," she said.

The launch was also attended by representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highway and Office of Civil Defense.

San Antonio told PNA that "joint effort from different government agencies in the region results to safe back to school experience for students."

"That's why about this time of the year, we talk and do our part a month before the classes start," he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency