DepED-ARMM Secretary Atty. Jamar M. Kulayan and AusAID’s BEAM-ARMM
Program Team Leader Kevin Corbin paint classroom doors for Brigada Eskwela on 23 May 2013.
AusAID’s support to Brigada Eskwela is engaging education stakeholders (parents; teachers; community members; etc.) in ARMM to contribute time, effort, and resources to prepare school facilities for the new school year, starting in June, an action issued by DepED Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro at the DepED Central Office on 27 February 2013. “Australia’s participation in Brigada Eskwela is part of Australia’s significant and broader commitment to helping improve the quality of teaching and learning in the Philippines. Education is the flagship of our aid program in the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell said as he joined Department of Education Secretary Bro Armin Luistro at the Brigada Eskwela kick-off ceremonies in Manila.
BEAM-ARMM is using these activities as an ongoing engagement with schools and communities that receive comprehensive programming, including rehabilitation and construction support, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and assistance to Islamic Schools throughout BEAM-ARMM’s Program to address targeted outcomes of improved participation and completion and quality in basic education. Of the 76 schools, 50 are public elementary and 26 are Islamic schools (Madaris). Fifty (50) public schools were identified with DepED-ARMM, using DepED’s national enhanced Basic Education Information System (eBEIS) as a basis to identify areas most in need. Schools coded red – schools with severe shortage of classrooms, defined by pupil to room ratios of 56+:1 – have been selected to receive immediate assistance. The 26 Madaris were identified through DepED-ARMM’s Bureau of Madrasah Education (BME).
BEAM-ARMM’s package of assistance for Brigada Eskwela 2013 includes a school improvement grant of PHP20,000 for public schools and PHP10,000 for Madaris (Madaris will receive additional assistance immediately after Brigada Eskwela through other programming) to address immediate improvements, including: painting; new teaching and learning materials; new and/or repaired school furniture; and, other efforts identified by the school and community that will directly benefit school children. BEAM-ARMM’s technical and infrastructure staff will on-site to provide direct support to these activities through DepED-ARMM lead coordinators at each school and community. Target schools are currently submitting Brigada Eskwela (BE) plans to identify specific maintenance activities needed at the school level, how the community intends to mobilize stakeholders, what resources have been committed, and how BEAM-ARMM resources would be utilised. School PTAs will identify prioritised needs, prepare canvass (3 quotes) for supplies, and BEAM-ARMM will spot check and address the financial transaction directly (due to current local capacity). Future training and programming will include PTAs and local organisations receiving grants and managing resources directly, with support from BEAM-ARMM.
After Brigada Eskwela, schools in ARMM continue to receive ongoing assistance with infrastructure needs; teacher training in English, science and math; water, sanitation and health programming; learning centers in school-less barangay; assistance to Islamic Schools; and, other assistance from the program.
BEAM-ARMM is a 6-year education program that enables the children and youth of Muslim Mindanao to develop and reach their full potential. The Program delivers accessible and healthy learning facilities, quality teachers, quality learning materials, and a protective environment for children in need and out of school youth, through effective, transparent and accountable management systems. Its eventual goal is to contribute to the alleviation of poverty in ARMM and, in the longer term, to the emergence of sustainable peace through closely targeted investments in basic education that prepare ARMM to engage productively with economic opportunities as they arise. The contribution from the Government of Australia for the initial 3-year phase of BEAM-ARMM is valued at AUD $85M and AUD 8.5M over 72 months from the Government of the Philippines.