This day is a testament to how we have stood strong as a nation amidst the myriad challenges that beleaguered the education sector during the previous school year―super typhoons and volcanic eruptions, political and socio-economic threats, and the months-long armed conflict, which tore down the beautiful city of Marawi and displaced thousands of our learners.
But these adversities did not deter us from pursuing our mission to deliver quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education to all Filipino learners wherever they are, and regardless of the circumstances. As I have said time and again, we should always guarantee that whatever happens, education must continue.
In preparation for the opening of the current school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) set into motion its flagship programs and projects to ensure a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe, and motivating environment for our learners. Through Brigada Eskwela, the outpouring of love and support from our partners and stakeholders―parents, teachers, community members, local government units, national government agencies, civil society groups, non-government organizations, private individuals and corporations, and everyone who believes in the power of education―has been overwhelming.
Through Oplan Balik Eskwela, meanwhile, we ensure that all our learners are properly enrolled and able to attend school today, the first day of classes, by addressing problems and other concerns commonly encountered by our stakeholders at the start of the school year. We have also convened an inter-agency task force to attend to your needs―electrical and road safety, adequate power and water supply, access to health care, justified pricing of commodities, protection and security from criminal elements, and assistance in crisis situations.
This is not to say that we are no longer beset with challenges. But no challenge is insurmountable, for as long as we continue to work together for the future of the Filipino learners―our future leaders and nation-builders.
LEONOR MAGTOLIS BRIONES