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Brigada Eskwela

Manila, Philippines – The Brigada Eskwela kicks off this week throughout the country.

It is a very noble undertaking— the education stakeholders voluntarily binding themselves together and collectively working on the needed preparations for the opening of the school year in June. Their mission includes cleaning of classrooms, repairing of school facilities, and the like.

Even if education, as mandated by the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, enjoys the most substantial share in the national budget, resources for education, particularly in the public school system, are simply not enough to provide for all the material needs. Brigada Eskwela is an initiative that partially, but substantially, addresses the concern on limited resources.

Essentially, the stakeholders involved in the initiative include the officials and employees of the Department of Education and local government units as well as the parents, students, and members of non-governmental organizations.

The concept of governance calls for the government, the market (or the private business sector), and the civil society to collectively work to achieve the common good.

Indeed, the Brigada Eskwela initiative can result in more positive changes in our public school system if the “market” will have more active participation in it. It is undeniable that private business organizations are essentially education stakeholders as well since the quality of education in our country impacts on the productivity of the labor force which in turn impacts on the profitability of business organizations.

The more active involvement of private business organizations in initiatives like the Brigada Eskwela is not just about profits but also about corporate social responsibility, which directly lends to the true essence of governance.

This year’s Brigada Eskwela program of the Department of Education focuses on the health and sanitation in public schools. The efforts will be focused on the improvement of toilets and washrooms in all public schools throughout the country.

This column joins the Department of Education in calling for more active support from the private sector, particularly from business organizations, to be part of the solution to the problem of the sorry state of toilets and washrooms in our public schools.

The challenges faced by the education sector are challenges that we should all own. With the government, the civil society and the private business sector working together, there is no reason for us to fail.

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