Teachers visit homes to bring kids to school
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Public school teachers across Central Mindanao region have started visiting communities to seek out students who have not enrolled for the incoming school year, which would start next week.
Arturo Bayocot, regional director of the Department of Education (DepEd), did not provide the number of children who had yet to enroll in the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, including cities in these areas.
But Bayocot said when the enrollment period started in January, the DepEd projected that the number of students or “learners” would reach about 1.4 million.
But a few days before classes start on June 4, the actual number of enrollees in the region was only about a million, he said.
“We’re still looking for more learners,” he told reporters here on Tuesday.
Bayocot said the DepEd had “assigned teachers to track down learners … even visiting them in their houses, if necessary.”
He said the campaign to bring back more students to school was part of the DepEd’s Oplan Balik Eskwela and Brigada Eskwela.
“While we’re making our schools ready [for class opening], how about our learners? Have we reached them? Are we sure that our enrollment is already maximized?” Bayocot added.
During the national kickoff for Brigada Eskwela here on Tuesday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the program had evolved into a community effort.
The program not only guarantees that schools are clean and students have spaces conducive to learning, but it ensures children will be able to go to school, she said.
Brigada Eskwela started as a voluntary annual activity involving parents, students, teachers, school officials, civic organizations and other groups in 2003. In 2008, the program was institutionalized by the DepEd.
According to Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali, the number of volunteers involved in Brigada Eskwela has been increasing.
From more than 8.8 million volunteers across the country in 2015, community participation grew in 2017, with 11.96 million volunteers.
Umali said work done by volunteers, such as repair of buildings, desks and other related activities, would have cost DepEd P669 million in 2015. —REPORTS FROM ALLAN NAWAL, RICHEL UMEL AND WILLIAMOR MAGBANUA
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