“Oplan Balik Eskwela” has been activated to welcome the more than 20 million elementary and high school students who will be trooping to 45,000 public schools nationwide for the opening of classes for school year 2014-2015 on June 2, 2014. The program ensures a smooth school opening and makes sure that students are properly enrolled and are able to attend the first day of classes.

Oplan Balik Eskwela was initiated by the Department of Education (DepEd) to address common concerns during school opening such as lack of teachers, shortage of books and chairs, lack of water and sanitation facilities, and student transfers. The government addressed the classroom shortage by building 66,813 classrooms as of December 2013.  DepEd hired more than 31,000 teachers as of May 15, 2014. Classrooms were spruced up by Brigada Eskwela.

DepEd formed an Interagency Task Force together with the Departments of Energy, Interior and Local Government, Health, National Defense, Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development, and Trade and Industry, as well as with the Manila Electric Company, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, and the Philippine National Police.

The task force addresses concerns in traffic management, stability of prices of school supplies, and peace and order. DPWH supervises the completion of classrooms and clears road obstructions. DTI monitors prices of school supplies and rolls out Diskwento Caravans.  DOH distributes health guidelines. Safe and accessible public transportation is managed by DOTC. DILG involves local governments and barangays in the preparations. MMDA controls the flow of vehicles to ensure smooth and safe traffic within Metro Manila. PAGASA provides constant weather updates.

An Information Assistance Center (IAC) serves as information and complaints processing and routing mechanism for students, parents, and teachers at the DepEd’s main office in Pasig City from May 26 to June 7, 2014. Regional directors and division superintendents set up local IACs that bring concerns to the central office.

Since 2005 when it started, Oplan Balik Eskwela has been instrumental in ensuring an orderly resumption of classes. It has helped improve traffic flow, keep school prices stable, minimize crime incidence in the vicinity of schools, and ensure prompt response to school opening inquiries from parents and school authorities. The success of the program has been attributed to the efficient coordination among government agencies as well as support from the public. – by yahoo.news