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Over 76,000 ‘Yolanda’-affected students to graduate

Amid the destruction left by super typhoon “Yolanda” last year, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday said that more than 76,000 students in some 1,500 public schools in the heavily-devastated Eastern Visayas area will graduate for school year 2013-2014.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro, in an interview, expressed his “big congratulations” to students who will be graduating—both in elementary and secondary levels—from “Yolanda”- affected schools.

“Hindi pangkaraniwan ang kanilang pinagdaanan, alam ko na medyo mahirap kung paano nila natapos at napagtiisan itong school year na ito [What they've experienced is extraordinary, I know it's hard how they managed to finish this school year],” Luistro said.

Latest DepEd data showed that in five affected divisions in E. Visayas including Eastern Samar, Leyte, Ormoc City, Samar and Tacloban City, a total of 76, 121 will graduate this school year. Of this number, 46, 679 are in elementary and 29, 442 are in high school.

“Yolanda” affected 47 towns and 12 districts in E. Visayas where there are 1,487 public schools—1, 311 are elementary schools and 176 are secondary schools. In Eastern Samar, of the 169 elementary and secondary schools affected in 10 towns, a total of 15, 276 or 9,515 elementary and 5, 761 high school students will graduate this school year.

In Leyte, of the 1,083 elementary and secondary schools affected in 35 towns, a total of 42, 774 or 26, 617 elementary and 16, 157 high school students will graduate while in Ormoc City, of the 97 elementary and secondary schools affected in six districts, a total of 7, 112 or 4,218 elementary and 2, 894 high school students will also finish their respective grade levels.

In Samar, of the 84 elementary and secondary schools affected in two towns, a total of 2, 794 or 1,711 elementary and 1,083 high school students are expected to graduate while in Tacloban City, of the 54 elementary and secondary schools affected in six districts, a total of 8, 165 or 4,618 elementary and 5, 547 high school students will also graduate.

According to DepEd Region 8 Director Luisa Yu, graduation rites in these schools will be kept “prudent and economical” as earlier announced by Luistro.

Region 8, she said, “specifically adheres to this especially with its present situation which necessitates holding of the usual commencement exercise using austerity measures.” Graduates, she added, will have to “wear their school uniform on the ‘big day’.”

To cover the lost days in school as a result of the typhoon and its aftermath, Yu said that schools in the five affected divisions held Saturday classes.

She explained that approximately, 15 to 20 Saturdays were used to complete the 201 Calendar Days for SY 2013-2014.

“In addition, schools that requested extension of classes and of holding of the commencement exercises were given up to April 7 instead of the March 28 approved schedule,” she added.