Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR120523: Australia participates in Brigada Eskwela 2012

Australia participates in Brigada Eskwela 2012

Australian Embassy staff today showed Australia’s strong support for education in the Philippines by participating in Brigada Eskwela activities at the Silangan Elementary School in Taguig City.

“Today is an opportunity for Australian Embassy staff to do ‘hands-on’ work with teachers, parents, and children to get schools ready for the new school year,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said. Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano joined Ambassador Tweddell at Silangan Elementary School.

Brigada Eskwela, spearheaded by the Philippine Department of Education, is a nationwide activity that brings together parents, teachers and pupils to clean up and prepare schools across the country for the start of classes in June.

Australian Embassy staff will participate in Brigada Eskwela activities this week in five schools in Taguig City. Australia and Taguig City are key partners in piloting a disaster risk management program called BRACE (Building the Resilience and Awareness of Metro Manila Communities to Natural Disasters and Climate Change Impacts). Australia, through the BRACE program, will assist urban communities “brace” for the impact of natural disasters. BRACE will demonstrate that by “building back better”, the damage bill for future disasters – both in human and economic terms – can be significantly lessened.

“Our support to Brigada Eskwela complements what we aim to do through the BRACE program – to support Filipinos to take action in their local communities to protect and preserve their environment to help reduce vulnerability to natural disasters,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

Australia has provided approximately Php4.7 million (A$109,000) to support Brigada Eskwela activities in 80 public schools –30 in Metro Manila and 50 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Australia provided each school with at least Php60,000 worth of materials and supplies for minor repairs repainting and cleaning.

Australia is also helping to coordinate Brigada Eskwela activities in schools where there are large populations of indigenous learners through the Philippines’ Response to Muslim and Indigenous Peoples’ Education (PRIME) program.

Education is the flagship sector of Australian development cooperation in the Philippines. Australian aid will assist the Philippine Government to promote opportunities for all by improving learning outcomes of school children in English, mathematics and science and ensuring that more children finish elementary and secondary education. Australian support helps increase access to quality education for Filipino girls and boys, including those with disabilities, Muslim and indigenous children and children in disadvantaged and conflict-affected areas.

“Australia is working with the Philippine Government, civil society and the private sector to train teachers, provide educational facilities including classrooms and day care centres, strengthen school-based management practice, improve education planning and management systems, and provide teaching and learning materials,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

“Our participation in Brigada Eskwela is part of Australia’s significant commitment to helping improve the quality of teaching and learning in the Philippines.”