Teachers Cheer as DepEd Ends Brigada Eskwela Competition
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has shown support for the Department of Education’s decision to stop the contest for the best Brigada Eskwela implementers this year. Teachers had felt pressured to ask for donations and spend their money to improve schools for the competition.
ACT Philippines appreciated the announcement, as it addressed the issue of teachers being forced to raise funds for school needs. ACT Chairperson Vladimer Quetua said that while they value community involvement in preparing schools, the cost of education should not fall solely on teachers, who already pay taxes for social services.
A DepEd memo explained that the contest would be canceled due to concerns about the program. Instead, all public schools taking part in Brigada Eskwela will receive a certificate of recognition for their efforts. Quetua highlighted that the DepEd’s budget for school maintenance and other expenses in 2023 is only P30.8 billion, which means just P1,232 per student for the entire year.
Class advisers and parents are often left to handle the costs of classroom repairs, maintenance, and equipment. Due to many families’ financial struggles, class advisers sometimes use their own salaries to create better learning environments.
Brigada Eskwela, started in 2008, encourages schools to involve local communities and governments in helping with school repairs and cleaning before classes begin. The program lets parents and residents volunteer to directly address the needs of public schools with limited resources.
DepEd reminded school heads that no money should be collected from parents or stakeholders involved in Brigada Eskwela. This led to discussions about the program’s competitive aspect, which put pressure on school staff to find sponsors or cover expenses themselves.
DepEd revised the Brigada Eskwela guidelines this year, allowing school divisions to decide how they will recognize schools that have done well in implementing the program.