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Classrooms need repair ASAP

/ 08:46 AM January 10, 2014

More than two months after it leveled almost everything in its path, supertyphoon Yolanda continues to haunt school children, no thanks to red tape.

Last Monday, at least two mayors from northern Cebu scored the Department of Education (DepEd) for its painfully slow action in repairing storm-damaged classrooms.

The long Christmas break came and went. Pupils came back to find they still couldn’t get on with lessons because the buildings wrecked by Nov. 8’ s supertyphoon remained unrepaired.

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Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said they are still “coordinating” with DepEd about this.

He called the time lapse “a difficult wait.”

Corro and Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez were understandably exasperated to have schoolchildren of their towns left hanging like that.

Classes are an effective way of establishing normalcy in a community’s post-Yolanda life. This also assures parents that aside from getting their kids back on track, for a few hours a day, adults can focus on other important tasks of rehabilitation.

Medellin’s outspoken Mayor Ramirez said they are “groping in the dark” about plans of the DepEd.

If not for initiatives and donations of the private sector, the towns would still be a wasteland.

Actions speak louder than words.

Or rather inaction is a deafening censure of the DepEds ability to respond to an emergency.

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We know that with the unprecedented impact of the storm, rehabilitation will take time.

But after two months, the government’s education agency is running out of excuses for excruciatingly slow performance.

The backlog in school construction has usually fallen on private foundations and benefactors to dig into their resources to address.

Some out-of-the-box thinking is needed to jolt the DepEd out of its conventional pattern of waiting for the private sector to rescue public school pupils.

If the two mayors, whose towns are among the worst hit by Yolanda in north Cebu, are any measure of how responsive DepEd’s regional office is in terms of simple communication and planning for immediate and medium-term solutions, there’s much to worry about in terms of the welfare of school children already feeling lost and traumatized by Yolanda.

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TAGS: Yolanda
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