Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR130520:Australia participates in Brigada Eskwela 2013

Australia participates in Brigada Eskwela 2013

Australian Embassy staff, led by Ambassador Bill Tweddell, today showed Australia’s strong support for education in the Philippines by participating in the Brigada Eskwela 2013 kick-off activity at the Philippine School for the Deaf in Pasay City.

“Australia’s participation in Brigada Eskwela is part of Australia’s significant and broader commitment to helping improve the quality of teaching and learning in the Philippines. Education is the flagship of our aid program in the Philippines,” Ambassador Tweddell said as he joined Department of Education Secretary Bro Armin Luistro at the Brigada Eskwela kick-off ceremonies.

“Brigada Eskwela 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. We have a team of volunteers from the Australian Embassy joining Brigada Eskwela activities for the whole week.”

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.

Australia has provided approximately Php1.6 million this year to support Brigada Eskwela activities in 81 public schools – 5 in Metro Manila and 76 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Support to ARMM schools is through the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM), a program of the Department of Education in ARMM in partnership with Australian Aid and implemented by BRAC Philippines, GIZ and UNICEF.

Australia provided each school with materials and supplies for minor repairs, repainting and cleaning. In addition, Australian Embassy staff will participate in Brigada Eskwela activities this week in the five Metro Manila schools. The selected schools cater specifically to or have large number of enrolees who are children with disabilities.

“With an estimated investment of Php2 billion (A$50 million) annually, Australia’s goal is to ensure that all Filipino children can realise and benefit from opportunities that development offers, including and especially those who are most disadvantaged. Our programs have a strong focus on inclusive education. We support improvements in access for children with disabilities as well as children in conflict affected areas,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

Australian aid assists 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.

“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.