DepEd to boost ‘Last Mile’ schools

Sun.Star Baguio - - Front Page - Maria Elena Cata­jan Sun*Star Re­porter

BANAUE, Ifu­gao Far flung schools will now be pri­or­i­tized.

De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion un­der­sec­re­tary Alain Del Pas­cua said the ‘Last Mile’ school pro­ject aims to ca­pac­i­tate cen­ters lo­cated in the far­thest ar­eas of the Cordillera.

The na­tion­wide pro­ject will now fo­cus on school which are hours away from town cen­ters with less than four class­rooms to give fur­ni­ture, learn­ing equip­ment, com­put­ers, text­books and lab­o­ra­to­ries.

“For the next three years, we will fo­cus

on schools far away from town cen­ters and are usu­ally multi – grade fa­cil­i­ties which teach small com­mu­ni­ties,” Pas­cua said.

Pas­cua added data anal­y­sis from the de­part­ment shows there are 8,000 ‘Last Mile’ schools all over the coun­try to be em­pow­ered and strengthen.

For the pro­ject, DepEd is work­ing with the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways to open ac­cess roads for the schools, open­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity for stu­dents and the com­mu­nity.

Pas­cua said the pro­ject is un­der the pro­gram of the de­part­ment, with the DPWH aim­ing to open roads lead­ing to all schools.

In the re­gion, far flung schools ar­eas need­ing build­ings usu­ally suf­fer a fail­ure in bidding with zero tak­ers push­ing the de­part­ment to re­vert the pro­ject cost to the gen­eral fund.

An­other fac­tor com­pound­ing the prob­lem is also the lack of man­power if and when school build­ing projects see fund­ing with skilled and non­skilled la­bor­ers hard to come by in prov­inces.

The la­bor force pre­fer to work in ur­ban ar­eas where pay is higher than in ru­ral ar­eas caus­ing a drain on much needed man­power.

DepEd records show in 2014 there were 52 re­verted class­rooms with 36 on­go­ing and 638 com­pleted pit­ted against a tar­get of 726.

In 2015 there were also 42 re­verted class­rooms com­pared to a 31 on­go­ing projects and 478 com­pleted com­par­ing to the 551 tar­geted for the re­gion while in 2016 there were 36 re­verted projects with a 223 yet to be started with only 21 com­pleted against 558 on­go­ing with a tar­get of 838.

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