DepEd getting ready for opening of classes

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MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education  is moving to ensure the smooth and orderly resumption of classes next month through Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE), to be implemented before and during the first week of the new school year.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the OBE, an annual preparation for the opening of classes nationwide, would be activated from May 28 to June 8, covering the first of week of school.

DepEd earlier set the opening of classes in public schools on June 4. Private schools may deviate from the schedule but are barred from starting the school year ahead of public schools.

“OBE aims to address the problems commonly encountered during this period, particularly to assure that students are properly enrolled and able to attend school on the first day of classes,” said Luistro in a memorandum issued to all officials and school heads.

Under OBE, DepEd will run a command center at its headquarters in Pasig City to serve as a central monitoring, information and complaints office.

Students, parents, teachers and other concerned citizens may drop by or call in to voice their complaints or concerns regarding school opening.

Luistro also directed the creation of an inter-agency task force to lead the effort, bringing together all government agencies involved in class opening matters.

These include the departments of trade and industry, defense, interior and local government, health, the weather bureau, the police, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

He also instructed all regional officers of DepEd to establish their own action offices, help desks and hotlines to respond quickly to complaints in schools in their area.

Some 20 million elementary and high school students are expected to enroll this new school year, up by one million from last year’s figure, according to the department.

Last year, students entering classes mostly complained of difficulties in transferring from private to public schools, problems in admission due to incomplete records and school crowding in densely populated areas.

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