MANILA — Partial reports gathered by the Department of Education (DepEd) show that out of 9,193 schools that reported, only 101 schools incurred partial or total damage on account of Typhoon “Ruby.” DepEd said that repair and rehabilitation of schools can be covered by the existing budget and will not require supplemental allocations.
As early as Tuesday, December 2, DepEd’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) began to issue SMS advisories to all regional and division offices directing them to take necessary precautions in anticipation of “Ruby.” Local division offices then coordinated with their respective local government officials to conduct preemptive suspension of classes. This gave school heads time to secure school structures and keep important documents. General preparedness measures were also circulated to ensure the safety of individuals within school communities.
Over the past week, DepEd has been compiling reports coming from different schools and divisions affected by TY Ruby. These have been collected using different channels such as SMS, email, or direct submissions to divisions. Crowdsourcing through the online #SchoolPatrolPH campaign was also reactivated as a tool to strengthen data gathering.
While minor damages have been reported, DepEd assures that measures are in place to guarantee continued delivery of basic education in affected areas. Notably, there has been close coordination between DepEd, both in the Central Office and the local offices, and the Education Cluster comprised of representatives from United Nations Children’s Fund, Save the Children, Plan International, World Vision, Smart Communications. Local offices have also convened meetings with partners to discuss assessment and identify needs. School heads have also been instrumental in providing quick and reliable information.
This united front between DepEd and its partners in government and non-government institutions guarantees that education needs, such as tents and tarpaulins for temporary learning spaces, are met especially in places that need them the most.