/ 25 September 2020

THE DEPARTMENT  of Education in the Cordillera Administrative Region  is ready for the 400,000 students who will begin classes on October 5.

During the Readiness Shout-out or Regional Kick-Off for the new school year on September 23, DepEd-CAR officials showcased their projects and initiatives for Cordilleran students.

Records showed that 400,099 learners enrolled for the school year 2020-2021–  356,907 of them in public schools.

Benguet Province has the highest number of enrollees — 86,230 —based on data from the Schools Division Offices and the Policy, Planning, and Research Division of DepEd CAR.

Baguio City has 75,346 and Abra, 57,888.

Ifugao province has the fourth highest enrollment with 48,108 followed by Tabuk City, 38,549,  and Mt. Province, 37,179. Apayao province has 33,319 learners and Kalinga province has 23,480.

DepEd-CAR Regional Director May Eclar said that the preparedness of public schools in the region was the result of concerted efforts of education stakeholders.

“Our initiatives from crafting our Learning Continuity Operational Plan, training of teachers and school heads, conduct of mental health and psychosocial activities, to preparations of materials and delivery of learning packets would have gone in vain without the support of our stakeholders from all sectors of society — the ‘binnadang’ or ‘bayanihan’ spirit is very much active in this region,” Eclar said.

She said that the Philippine National Police Regional Office and the military’s 503rd Infantry helped deliver instructional packets especially in far-flung areas.

DepEd-CAR also partnered with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology for the learning of Persons Deprived of Liberty. The Bureau of Fire Protection also helped in the delivery of instructional materials and in the disinfection of schools and offices.

“Our partnership initiative also went global with the coming in of Tata Consultancy Services, an Indian multinational information technology services and consulting company with their goIT program for grades 9 and 10 learners which is currently being piloted in the Cordillera Regional Science High School and will involve more schools offering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand until April 2021,” Eclar said.

The regional office also recently launched its DamiKnow, a YouTube channel that serves as an access point and repository of locally-developed and quality-assured learning resources in audio and video formats.

Project Safe Working and Learning Spaces or “Handang Paaralan, Ligtas na Kinabukasan,” was also rolled out.

“All these efforts and more are linked with our division offices and at their level, concrete efforts and actions are being undertaken or operationalized,” Eclar said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones lauded DepEd-CAR and again emphasized the importance of learning continuity despite the pandemic.

“We open a historic year, a victorious year because in spite of all the criticisms, the screams, the curses, and the shouts, 24 million learners still want to go to school, 50 million parents want their children to go to school, and around 900,000 teachers want to stay and continue teaching learners,” Briones said.