DepEd Region 8 strives to rehabilitate after Yolanda
Three months after super typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, SEAMEO INNOTECH and the Department of Education Region 8 Office held a meeting to discuss possible ways the Center can assist the schools divisions in the region towards recovery and rehabilitation.
DepEd Region 8 director Dr. Luisa Bautista-Yu shared the situation in Region 8 where five schools divisions were among the hardest hit by the storm surge brought by Yolanda in November 2013. She revealed that a total of 6,018 schools were partially damaged while 1, 567 were totally destroyed in the schools divisions of Leyte, Ormoc City, Eastern Samar, Samar, and Tacloban City. Even the DepEd regional office was not spared. Among the fatalities were students, teachers, non-teaching personnel, a school head, and an education program specialist.
Recognizing the importance of resuming classes to provide a sense of normalcy among the people, schools divisions were informed to start holding classes as early as 02 December 2013, although it was about a month later that this became official. Several non-government organizations and foundations had shown support by providing temporary learning spaces and basic school materials to the kids.
For the hardest hit schools divisions, the IMPACT learning system developed by SEAMEO INNOTECH was applied, while others made use of a mixture of contextualized curriculum and K to 12.
Psychosocial interventions were also initiated, not just for the students, but also for the teachers and other school personnel. In Eastern Samar, a number of schools are benefitting from the emergency feeding programs sponsored by civic organizations. Apart from WASH facilities and temporary learning spaces, UNICEF distributed basic hygiene kits to schools.
Dr. Yu said there are still gaps that need to be addressed. Many are willing to help but relevant data must be provided to guide them on what to give. The needs of affected students with disabilities (SPED) and out-of-school youths and adults must also be given focus. DepEd Region 8 intends to accomplish these as part of its move towards recovery and rehabilitation. It is also hopes to complete the provision of temporary learning spaces, where nearly half are yet to be provided, and conduct repair of classrooms by May 2014.
SEAMEO INNOTECH, for its part, has committed to visit Tacloban City to assess the situation there and determine other interventions to offer. The Center is also looking at conducting a case study on how schools in the devastated areas are coping with the tragedy brought by Yolanda. The case study will be a good input for the Center’s disaster management program LEADeXCELS, which, while intended to be offered online, may be done through face-to-face training for teachers in Region 8.