Yolanda-affected students ready for June 2 school opening

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MONTHS after super typhoon Yolanda battered the Eastern Visayas region, students from heavily devastated Tacloban City are ready to go back to school when classes open on June 2.

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Mercy Sarmiento, information officer of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 8 said said on Thursday students from Tacloban City and other areas in the region hit by Yolanda last year are mentally and psychologically prepared.

“We believe that our students are ready,” Sarmiento said in a text message.

She said the (DepEd) regional office, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and other education sector partners held a one-day back-to-learning and a safe school program at the Kapangian Elementary School in Tacloban City on Wednesday to ensure that students who suffered emotional trauma brought by the typhoon will be able to go back to school.

“This is in coordination with education cluster member organizations spearheaded by Unicef. The activity started with a parade and ended with the signing of the pledge of commitment,” Sarmiento explained.

“This is a campaign to ensure that all children especially in the typhoon affected areas will fully resume schooling in June 2,” she added.

Sarmiento said the education department, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Unicef, education sector partners and local government units worked together so that the students will be ready for school.

“The campaign will be a bottom-up multi-stakeholder approach to mobilize collective action for back to learning campaign via various approaches and strategies to reach all children, including the most marginalized ones and to facilitate enabling child-friendly learning environment,” she said.

Aside from DepEd’s nationwide Oplan Balik Eskwela program, Region 8 office also intensifies campaign of going back to school through the back to learning campaign, Sarmiento said.

“Since this is in coordination with the Social Welfare department, we will also include children in bunkhouses and those relocated families due to typhoon Yolanda,” she said.

Sarmiento said the city’s daycare workers and alternative learning system teachers conducted a house-to-house visit to encourage children to go back to school.

“The back to learning campaign serves to encourage the children to go back to school regardless of where they are located after the typhoon,” she said.

“We conducted a similar activity last January 6 for the opening of classes after the Christmas vacation after Yolanda,” she added.

The kickoff activity was attended by DepEd undersecretary for partnership and external linkages Mario Derequito, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, representatives from the Unicef, Save the Children, and other international organizations.

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