Over the years, the Brigada Eskwela effort has evolved from a week-long cleaning-up and beautification exercise to a festive coming together of students, teachers, school officials, parents, community members, local government officials, non-government organizations, church groups and the private sector. It, too, has become one of DepEd’s major initiatives in enjoining local communities to respond to the needs of public schools and be part of a nationwide effort towards improving Philippine basic education.
This was made possible by the hard work and determination of school heads in finding innovative ways to bring children to school, keep them there, and ensure that they will learn. Brigada Eskwela will not be what it is today, if it were not for the strong leadership in our public schools.
This Manual has been especially designed for School Heads like you who play an important role in the successful implementation of Brigada Eskwela (BE). It aims to equip you with the necessary standards and procedures in implementing the program. It contains a daily line-up of activities. It highlights the value of engaging stakeholders from the community and the private sector to be active partners in improving your school. From planning to managing volunteers, this Manual also lends many insights on the various stages of the Brigada Eskwela Program.
This material was prepared by the Regional Adopt-a-School Program Coordinators together with the National Secretariat and Consultants of the Department of Education through a series of consultations and workshops. The meaningful experiences of school heads who were awarded best implementers of Brigada Eswela also gave inspiration to the development of this Manual.
As school heads, the entire school community looks upon your leadership to bring them together for a worthy cause, protect the gains of your hard work and sustain your collaborative efforts. With much faith in your ability to mobilize volunteers, resources and goodwill, combined with the proper use of this Manual, we wish you the best in your school’s Brigada Eskwela.
The education of the Filipino youth is everybody’s concern. While government is tasked to provide free and quality education to every Filipino child and youth, the community where they grow is an important stakeholder in their education. The private sector, which will sooner or later employ these young Filipinos, is also an important stakeholder in their education. The successful collaboration of all these stakeholders is therefore pivotal in ensuring that Filipino children and youth go to school, remain in school and learn in school. It poses a great challenge to educational stakeholders.
It was with this spirit of volunteerism and public-private partnership for education that Republic Act 8525, or the “Adopt-A-School Act” was made in 1998. Through the Adopt-A-School Program (ASP), private sector companies and professionals are given the opportunity to contribute in improving the public education system of the country. To recognize their goodwill, they can avail of tax incentives of up to 150%. Over the years, the Adopt-A-School Program has attracted more than 200 partners, generating some P6 billion worth of projects and interventions.
In its effort to bring the spirit of the Adopt-A-School Program to the community level and maximize civil participation and utilize local resources to improve the public schools, the Department of Education launched the National Schools Maintenance Week in May 2003. Dubbed, Brigada Eskwela, the program brought together teachers, parents and community members every third week of May to work together in repairing and preparing public schools for school opening. In the spirit of bayanihan, private institutions/individuals and even the local government units contributed in generating resources for the effort. During the week-long event, volunteers take time out in doing minor repairs, painting, and cleaning of school campuses.
In 2007 alone, Brigada Eskwela hit a record high of 90% participation among school communities, generating more than P2.5 billion worth of support-inkind and volunteer man-hours. It has proven to continue to gain more mileage among communities, corporations, small-medium enterprises, government and non-government organizations and private individuals. Indeed, Brigada Eskwela is becoming DepEd’s model of genuine public and private partnership in action.
As the Department endeavors to solve the many challenges facing Philippine education, Brigada Eskwela will serve as one of its frontline initiatives reminding each and every Filipino that we are all stakeholders in education.