Even without face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) inaugurated 339 newly constructed school buildings and 98 restored Gabaldon Schoolhouses ahead of the opening of School Year (SY) 2021-2022.
“Although the conduct of face-to-face classes is not yet allowed, these newly-installed classrooms will be instrumental in our mission to address classroom shortage in the long run,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a statement issued Thursday, Sept. 16.
DepEd installed 339 newly completed school building projects equivalent to 2,040 classrooms. It also restored 98 Gabaldon School Buildings in various regions, including seven newly-constructed division offices.
Moreover, DepEd also repaired and improved five existing Division offices in Regions 6, 8, 10, and 11 as part of the its School Building Program, in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Sana makita ninyo ang malaking pagbabagong ito sa school houses (I hope you can see this big change in school houses),” Briones said.
“Ang iba ay nasa siyudad, ang iba ay nasa malalayong lugar, ang iba ay nasa probinsiya— iisa ang design, resistant to the strong winds, malinis at kaaya-aya (Some are in the city, some are in remote areas, some are in the provinces — one design, resistant to strong winds, clean and pleasant),” she added.
The simultaneous ceremonial turnover of school buildings were conducted at Kalinga, Apayao, and Baguio, Benguet in Cordillera Administrative Region, Naval and Biliran in Biliran, Dipolog, Zamboanga Del Norte, and Ormoc City, Leyte last week.
Last Mile Schools Meanwhile, DepEd also launched the Last Mile Schools Development Program (LMSP) as the it recognizes the need to prioritize the development of schools in Geographically Isolated, Disadvantaged and Conflict-Affected areas (GIDCA).
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua explained that the Last Mile Schools Development Program primarily seeks to bridge the gap in schools that have not reached the allocation criteria for education inputs.
“These schools also lack electrical connections, school furniture, and learning materials which hamper the optimum learning experience of the students,” he added.
Related to this, a Ceremonial Groundbreaking Ceremony was conducted at Sitog National High School, one of the Last Mile Schools located at Dabiak, Katipunan, Zamboanga Del Norte, where they received two units of one-story, two classroom buildings. Other beneficiaries of LMSP are Leyte, Surigao Del Sur, Samar, Tabuk, Abra, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Quezon Province, and Kalinga.
Pascua said that SY 2020-2021, the different Bureaus, Services, and Schools Divisions are “working together in directing various programs, projects, and activities to address the needs of these disadvantaged public schools and learners.”