Pasig City, April 12, 2022— Committed to bring quality education even in the most geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced its target to build and finish 599 classrooms for the Last Mile Schools Program this year.
“These schools with concrete walls, electricity and clean water are more than buildings. They represent hope for our learners, they are symbols that we care to bring education to the most challenged and remote places in the country,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.
According to the report presented by the Education Facilities Division (EFD) during the EduAKSYON: Regional Press Conference in Region 5, around 259 classrooms from the fiscal year 2020 budget are expected to be completed by the end of May 2022 while 340 classrooms from fiscal year 2021 are targeted to be completed by August 2022.
“Most of our projects are all under construction. These classrooms and schools will soon host learners and teachers and they will have electricity, running water, and most importantly, they will have brand-new tables and chairs that they can use,” EFD Chief Annabelle Pangan shared.
DepEd also recently unveiled its first-ever completed Last-Mile School in Eastern Visayas last February. Patong National High School (PNHS) in Samar is one of the nine completed last-mile school sites which received two units of one storey-two classrooms equipped with a water system, solar panels, and complete school furniture.
Compliant to the DepEd’s Minimum Performance and Standards Specifications (MPSS) for School Buildings, completed school facilities for last mile schools should include solar panels, school furniture, provision for a water system, and other site improvements like fence, gate, site leveling, and soil protection.
For fiscal year 2022, DepEd received a budget of Php 1.5B for the construction of 97 schools and 340 classrooms under the Last Mile Schools Program. EFD reported that the finalization of the documents for the procurement of these projects is already ongoing.
Priority schools under the program have undergone assessment and evaluation based on the following criteria: if the school is more than 4km from the regional/division office; if the school is made out of makeshift materials and lacks permanent structures; if the school did not receive infrastructure projects in the last five years; and if the school does not have electricity and potable water supply.