A new integrated school in the town of Bataraza is opening next school year to accommodate Grade 7 and 8 students after its recent inauguration.

After getting the relevant permits, Ocayan Elementary School (OES) in Bataraza’s same-named barangay is now Ocayan Integrated School (OIS) and will be ready for students the following school year.

Its stage and two school buildings donated by Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) were turned over on February 3 in preparation for its opening.

Laurence Amores, head of CBNC’s Community Relations Office, stated that the two classrooms are the first buildings built in response to the area’s need for improved educational services. The fund used to construct them and the school stage amounted to P2.9 million.

The projects are still part of last year’s Social Development and Management Project (SDMP) of CBNC for Barangay Ocayan. They are included in the barangay’s Php7.2 million budget for 2022. With the Php11.4 million budgeted for 2023, further developments are anticipated in Barangay Ocayan.

“We know how important for the people of this barangay to have a high school. That is why, we, at CBNC want this to make it happen,” said Amores said during the turnover.

“Sa pagsasama-sama ng komunidad ay magagampanan po natin kahit ang maliliit na gampanin tulad nito lalo’t higit handog natin ito sa ating mga kabataan,” he added.

OIS school head Girlie Barretto said that it took a long time to secure the required approvals for their elementary school to become an integrated school.

“It took us more than two years before we acquired the necessary permits for us to become an integrated school. Thus, even with the completion of the classrooms built by CBNC months ago, we still cannot start the implementation. But now, we are ready,” she said.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to serve students until Grade 12. We are confident that we can do it because that is our original plan,” added Barreto.

Students in grades 7 and up are currently enrolled in Rio Tuba or in other Bataraza schools after completing Grade 6 at Ocayan Elementary School.

“This is a big help for us parents. Not only can we save on transportation costs and related expenses, but more than that, we will have peace of mind since they are just within our reach,” said one of the parents.

Schools Division Superintendent Roger Capa sees the project as an example of education reform.

“Ang Ocayan Integrated School ay isang halimbawa ng reporma sa edukasyon. Sa pamamagitan ng paglalapit ng paaralan sa mga kabataan, mas mapapabilis ang pagpapaabot ng serbisyo at edukasyon sa mga estudyante at mas magagabayan ng mga magulang ang kanilang mga anak at maiiwasan ang mga pagliban sa klase,” Roger Capa said in a statement delivered for him by senior education specialist for Special Mobilization and Networking Maylyn Dilig.

CBNC also has previously supported Biriran Integrated School, Sumbiling National High School, Tarusan National High School, Peace and Development Community National High School, and Amando C. Lahoz National High School in Bataraza for the school’s various developments.