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P8.9 million Aussie aid extended to ARMM for Brigada Eskwela efforts

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 05:31 AM Fri Jun 3, 2016
John Unson
Construction materials from the Australian government and the ARMM executive department for a Madrasah in Maguindanao. (JOHN UNSON)

COTABATO CITY --- The Australian government has provided the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao an P8.9 million grant for the rehabilitation of 277 ARMM public schools and 53 Madaris institutions.The development package is in support of the 2016 Brigada Eskwela program in the autonomous region, which covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.John Magno, regional secretary of the Department of Education in the autonomous region (DepEd-ARMM), on Thursday said the assistance from Australia is earmarked for the rehabilitation of learning facilities in 277 schools and 53 Madaris campuses.The ARMM education department is helping oversee dozens of local government-accredited Madaris schools scattered in the region’s five provinces.These are learning institutions helping propagate Islamic values, particularly interfaith solidarity among local Muslim, Lumad and Christian groups, through Arabic language as medium of instruction.Magno said the Australian government, through the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) Program, also provided tables, chairs, teaching guides and learning devices to selected schools that are to open soon for school year 2016-2017. The Brigada Eskwela, or annual school maintenance week, commenced in the ARMM on Monday with simultaneous caravans and symbolic inter-agency, multi-sectoral school sanitation and restoration activities. Pioneered in 2003, the Brigada Eskwela aims to prepare the schools for the opening of classes through repairs of classrooms and campus clean-up activities participated by teachers, parents and other sectors, including the police and the military. Magno said this year’s Brigada Eskwela theme, Tayo sa Paaralang Ligtas, Maayos, at Handa Mula Kindergarten Hanggang Senior High School,” encourages stakeholders from both government and private sectors to take part in the weeklong event, lasting from May 30 to June 4, 2016. He said the ARMM education department has been implementing the Brigada Eskwela program in the past four years with the support of the Australian government.

The program’s school health component, assisted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Germany, is parallel with DepEd-ARMM’s health and nutrition thrusts. Magno said the Brigada Eskwela promotes the touted bayanihan,” or volunteerism spirit, among school children and community education stakeholders. Thanks to the Australian government and all the volunteers who helped our schools prepare for the opening of classes on June 13, 2016,” he said.
BEAM-ARMM helps address poverty and foster peace in the autonomous region through targeted investments in basic education.
The program is being implemented with funding support from the Australian government.

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