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Teachers, students welcome resumption of classes in Yolanda-hit areas

Yu said the students were provided with new school supplies, including pencils, pad paper and notebooks.

MANILA, Philippines - Teachers were smiling and students were excited when classes resumed yesterday in packed makeshift classrooms and alternative learning spaces in Eastern Visayas following the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda almost two months ago.

Classes in higher education institutions in Yolanda-stricken areas will resume on Jan. 15.

Luisa Bautista-Yu, Department of Education director in Eastern Visayas, reported an overwhelming turnout of students in the region, including in Tacloban City, the hardest hit area last Nov. 8.

“The (students) are excited to return to school,” she said. “The teachers are all smiles as they conduct regular classes. They were able to resume classes even in schools used as evacuation centers because they have designated areas for the evacuees.” 

Yu said the students were provided with new school supplies, including pencils, pad paper and notebooks.

Tents built by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) were full of students  yesterday, she added.

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Unicef and other international organizations provided psychosocial support to students and teachers in Eastern Visayas.

Angela Kearney, Unicef Philippines officer-in-charge, said psychosocial support for both teachers and students is vital in their recovery.

“Teachers and day care workers will be reached through psychosocial programs focusing on how teachers can support children who have been traumatized and also working directly with parent-teacher associations to include parents in understanding special needs of their children in this post-typhoon period,” she said.

Unicef, along with the Save the Children and INTERSOS, supported the government’s “Back to Learning Campaign.”

The campaign aims to provide 500,000 children with school and recreational supplies and 10,000 teachers and day care workers with training on emergency related topics.

A total of 3,000 classrooms have been repaired and several tents were converted into makeshift classrooms, Unicef said.

Authorities told to speed up work

Sen. Loren Legarda called on authorities involved in the clean-up of garbage in Yolanda-hit areas to speed up their work.

In a statement, the head of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources said uncollected garbage could attract bacteria-carrying organisms.

“This is yet another challenge in our post-disaster management strategies,” she said.  – With Marvin Sy     

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