THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged local government units (LGUs) to support and be involved in the Balik Eskwela 2021 (BE 2021) program to ensure the efficient kick-off for the coming school year amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that LGUs’ involvement in BE 2021 is imperative as quality education remains to be one of national government’s priorities despite the hurdles COVID-19 present. He said the schools need all the assistance they can receive, especially that the current pandemic has altered the face of the country’s education system from physical classes to virtual.
“We cannot stop because of the pandemic which is why we urge our LGUs to assist in the BE 2021 program. Hinihiling natin sa mga LGU na tutukan din ang edukasyon, lalo na sa pagsisimula ng klase sa Setyembre 13, 2021,” Año said.
“Ang pakikiisa ng mga pamahalaang lokal sa BE 2021 ay isang hakbang nang pagtitiyak na sa kabila ng COVID-19 ay matututo pa rin ang ating mga kabataan,” he added.
BE 2021 with the theme “Bayanihan sa Paaralan” is an annual program of the Department of Education (DepEd) to jump-start the school year where the public and private sectors are also encouraged to pitch in and contribute.
Año said that the current setup and education system is coping with the many obstacles brought by COVID-19 but the burden cannot rest on the shoulders of the schools and the teachers alone.
He said that LGUs are encouraged to partake in easing these challenges towards the continued learning of the students. “Malaki ang tiwala natin sa mga LGU na hindi nila pababayaan ang ating mga paaralan at mga mag-aaral kaya patuloy rin ang pagpapaalala natin sa kanila.”
Through DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-084, Año “encouraged all the units of local governments to support BE 2021 by intensifying information campaigns and strengthening communication and coordination to reinforce the efforts of the DepEd in ensuring the quality of education.”
He said that all LGUs and local chief executives (LCEs) can support BE 2021 by donating laptop and desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, internet services, and other equipment needed by schools and students to adapt in the virtual setup of learning.
“Malaking bagay para sa mga paaralan at mag-aaral kung matutulungan sila ng kanilang pamahalaang lokal sa mga pangangailangan nila ngayong may mga virtual classes na tayo. Itong gadgets at services na ito ay kadikit na ng pagkatuto ng mga mag-aaral ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Año explained.
The DepEd released Office of the Undersecretary for Administration Memorandum 00-0620-0030 last June 2020 containing a list of specifications for information and communication technology equipment and internet services to be donated to schools.
He likewise advised LGUs to assist schools and teachers for school supplies such as bond papers and computer inks which are needed to print modules for students who cannot participate in virtual classes.
In the same memorandum, the DILG Chief also urged LGUs to help in disseminating information on the start of classes. “Ito ay maaaring isagawa ng LGU sa pamamagitan ng mga pinuno ng barangay.”
Año also reminded LGUs to appeal to all the schools nationwide to conduct the opening of BE 2021 virtually which started last August 2 until September 25, 2021 and lessen the gathering of people especially now that the country is bracing for the Delta variant of COVID-19.