June 13, 2016 marked the nationwide opening of School Year 2016 -2017.
In the Eastern Visayas Region, peacefulness and orderliness were evident in the opening as School Heads and teachers united in creating a fun and festive atmosphere to make the learners feel welcome, feel that the school is an environment safe for them and feel the sense of belongingness in their school on that day and on the year ahead.
It can be noted that this is not an ordinary year as it is the first year that the Senior High School Grade 11 program is being fully implemented. “We have been working for this day not just yesterday but for the past 6 years,” said Undersecretary Reynaldo Laguda during his visit in the DepEd Regional Office VIII last June 13, 2016.
As of the first day, 43, 409 students were already enrolled in the Grade 11 program – that is in Region 8 alone. The number is expected to increase because enrollment in all schools is still ongoing. Parents were also present during the opening of classes as they showed their support for the Senior High School program. “I thank DepEd for creating this program because I know that my son can acquire skills and knowledge that can help him when he looks for jobs in the future,” says Janet Funa, a parent of a SHS enrollee in Palo National High School.
As expected, there were minimal concerns and issues encountered by School Heads and teachers during the opening but these were readily addressed through the contingency plans prepared by the schools beforehand.
In addition, the regional Field Technical Assistance Team of the Regional Office VIII were deployed to monitor the Oplan Balik Eskwela and to attend press conferences conducted by various Division offices in order to entertain and answer queries from different stakeholders regarding the opening of classes as well as the Senior High School Program.
“We are looking at the future not just of this children but collectively as a nation. It has not been an easy road since the K-12 Program was implemented, but if we unite and do this for our children, we will be able to achieve our goals,” stressed John Arnold Siena, Director of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines during the Brigada Eskwela Kick-off in Biliran National High Agricultural School.