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  • Jan 25 2008

    Int’l Forum on Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation set at DepEd

    Representatives from 20 countries will convene to discuss the best practices in poverty mitigation in the International Forum on Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation on January 25-26, 2008 at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office, Pasig City.

    Spearheaded by Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC), the forum is in collaboration with the Department of Education, Government of the Philippines and with the cooperation of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre in Bonn, Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Training Foundation, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), ILO Sub-Regional Centre, Southeast Asian Minister Organization (SEAMEO), and other development partners and institutions.

    Speakers and delegates are expected to come from member countries of CPSC regional program like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, India, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Sri Lanka as well as other participating countries.

    “We thank the CSPC in opening avenues such as this forum where international and regional development organizations can have a chance to come up with a collective response to poverty issues through skills development,” says Education Secretary Jesli Lapus who will serve as keynote speaker of the event.

    The event will allow delegates to learn lessons from experiences, to develop curriculum framework for capacity building and to examine issues and challenges for those seeking gainful employment.

    The resource speakers are from development partners such as UNESCOUNEVOC, ADB Regional and Sustainable Development Department (RSDD), UN FAO, European Training Foundation, SEAMEO Regional Centers. Topics to be discussed include modular employable skills, entrepreneurship skills, job skills, youth employment, retraining of adult workers, reskilling of older workers, retraining of adult workers, e-community services, empowerment of women, life skills, ICT skills and technical and vocational skills for poverty
    alleviation.

    The symposium will be inaugurated by Mr Rajat Nag, Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and will be addressed by Dr. Efison Munjanganja, Head of UNESCO UNEVOC International Centre.

    Dr. Shyamal Majumdar, Director General of CPSC says that, “The symposium will give the impetus for rethinking ways to develop and come up with strategies that can take advantage of the cooperation and synergy of organizations with common goals. Eradicating poverty has proven to be a big challenge for all of us. More than 1.7 billion people in Asia are estimated to still be living below US$ 2 per day and some are way beyond overcoming poverty crisis.”

    He adds, “As an ultimate goal, we want to know what necessary agenda we should focus on to address the crisis of skills that besets rural poor, ageing society, women and indigenous communities. Another level of skills crisis is also experienced by those who have graduated, but whose skills become easily obsolete or totally irrelevant to satisfy gainful work opportunities.”

    CPSC is an inter-governmental organization hosted by the Philippines and based in Manila. It is mandated to improve technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the region. For the symposium, it aims to provide venue for discussion and sharing of knowledge and experience of the various development agencies in the region and outside the region, in dealing with the dimensions, issues and approaches for effective skill development intervention

    Majumdar says, “Life-long skills empower the grassroots and eliminate the idea of isolation just because they don’t have the skills relevant to join gainful work opportunities. The principal route out of poverty is generating employment and/or promoting self-employment. For that, we need to develop technical and other relevant skills to begin with.”

    CPSC facilitates the collective response to poverty issues in Asia Pacific region through sharing of scopes, solutions and strategies in the context of skill development programs and initiatives.

     

     

  • Jan 24 2008

    DepEd Bicol rehab nears completion

    The Department of Education reports a 98 percent actual physical accomplishment in the construction and repair of school buildings under the Bicol Calamity Assistance and Rehabilitation Efforts (BCARE).

    “We have informed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that of all government agencies in Bicol, DepEd is the first among BCARE agencies to complete its rehabilitation targets,” said BCARE Commission Executive Director Dr Anthony Golez during the last inter-agency coordinating meeting last January 17 at Camp Aguinaldo.

    BCARE has identified 2,220 school sites where some 771 new classrooms are up for construction and 7,142 are for repairs.

    Figures from DepEd's Physical Facilities and Schools Engineering Division (PFSED) showed that as of January 7, 2008, classroom construction and repair are proceeding at a steady pace with all provinces reaching almost 100-percent completion in the repair and construction of new school buildings.

    DepEd is still short of full accomplishment. Specifically, in the case of Maipon Elementary School whose buildings were completely covered by mud, the entire school needs to be relocated to another site. A few other schools are yet to complete construction due to its isolated locations that limit delivery of construction materials. These schools are either located on separate islands or in remote areas no easily accessible to vehicular traffic.

    Under BCARE, DepEd has earmarked some P1.2 billion for the construction of new classrooms and repair of damaged ones in Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

    BCARE is similar to a mini-Marshall plan specifically put up to rehabilitate Bicol after suffering the brunt of the succession of super typhoons in 2006. The effort of the United States to rebuild and strengthen allied countries in Europe after World War II was called the Marshall Plan, named after then Secretary of State George Marshall.

    DepEd also constructed 15 typhoon-resistant school buildings in Camarines Sur, Legaspi City, and Albay. Six more buildings of this type are being put up around Bicol with funding from the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Another six will be constructed in Region 4-B MIMAROPA also through UNICEF.

    This new type of school building doubles as academic classroom and evacuation center. It is made of concrete and steel and elevated one meter above the ground.

     

     

  • Jan 24 2008

    New Bicol classrooms can last 50 years

    Education Secretary Jesli Lapus inaugurates today typhoon-resistant school buildings in Camarines Sur that were designed to last for at least half a century – part of the department’s efforts to rehabilitate school buildings damaged by super typhoons Milenyo and Reming in 2006. The Calamity Assistance and Rehabilitation Efforts (CARE) was initiated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to bring together all agencies that implement projects for typhoon-affected areas.

    Through the Bicol CARE or BCARE, these typhoon-resistant classrooms that double as evacuation centers were constructed one each in Minalabac Elementary School and Baao West Central School. Eleven more schools are being constructed in Camarines Sur, one in Albay and two in Legaspi City.

    “Since Bicol is frequently battered by typhoons, our school buildings should be made to serve not only our students but the community as well especially in times of calamities,” Lapus said. “We are witness to the damage a typhoon can cause houses in rural areas. Since our schools are always used as evacuation centers, we must therefore have the strongest structures to withstand the worst calamities.”

    The two-classroom building is equipped with a kitchen, two toilets and bath, a ramp for the disabled, and with the provision of a roof deck, it can provide six families with a safe and decent living space during times of calamities. To prevent flooding inside the property, the building floor line is elevated one meter above the ground.

    Another two-storey, four-classroom school building in Triangulo Elementary School in Naga City was inaugurated by Lapus during his visit. BCARE is part of the CARE program of the government that addresses repair and rehabilitation of schools in typhoon-stricken areas. DepEd has identified 2,220 school sites where some 771 new classrooms are up for construction and 7,142 are for repairs in the Bicol region alone.

    BCARE Commission Executive Director Dr Anthony Golez, during the latest coordination meeting held at the Department of National Defense, commended DepEd for being the first among BCARE agencies to complete its rehabilitation targets.

    DepEd still awaits the relocation of Maipon Elementary School for it to start the construction of new buildings. The whole school was completely covered by mud flow during the typhoons. A new site is currently being sought. There are also other schools in isolated locations that limit delivery of construction materials.

    Under the BCARE program, DepEd undertook construction of 771 new classrooms and repair of 7,142 damaged ones in Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon. BCARE is similar to a mini-Marshall plan specifically put up to rehabilitate Bicol after suffering the brunt of the succession of super typhoons in 2006.

     

     

  • Jan 23 2008

    DepEd joins week-long celebration of Autism Consciousness Week

    To give due attention to persons with autism, the Department of Education’s Special Education Division (DepEd-SPED) joins the inter-agency week-long celebration of Autism Consciousness Week which will be held from January 20 to 26, 2008.

    “We should create conditions that will allow persons with autism to live with dignity and contribute productively to society,” Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said.

    With the theme Hope Abounds…For Individuals with Autism, this event seeks to mobilize concerned agencies and organizations to provide attention to persons with autism.

    Slated is an On the Spot painting contest on January 23 at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Conference Room, sponsored by DENR and DepEd.

    Meanwhile, on January 25 at Lagro Elementary School, a free therapy session will be conducted from 8 AM onwards.

    These activities will culminate with Angels Walk for Autism on January 27, 2008 at the Liwasang Aurora, Quezon Memorial Circle. Interested participants may register at 6 AM and no fees will be collected.

    The Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) and the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP) will join DepEd in the celebration. Teachers and heads of special education in public and private schools are also encouraged to participate in the abovementioned activities.

    Proclamation No. 711 declares every third week of January as Autism Consciousness Week. With this, the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with DepEd, are mandated to come up with means to provide early diagnosis, therapy, education and treatment to persons with autism.

     

     

  • Jan 23 2008

    School-Based Management - Paving the way for next-gen educators

    When school teacher Monica Sison accepted the post as head of the Avocado Elementary School (AES) in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, she had already set in mind the task she wanted to accomplish -- ensure that the students get the education they are entitled to, even if it meant reviving the school that had been closed for six years.

    The forerunner of the AES was burned down during hostilities between the New People’s Army and government forces. The area was declared a no man’s land as a result of the armed conflict. By force of the situation, the old school became non-operational from 1986 to 1992. Avoiding being caught in a crossfire, school children had to dodge the military and rebel’s bullets – losing along the way their opportunity to be in school.

    In 1992, then Governor Emilio Macias entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the NPAs. One of the provisions of the MOA was the establishment of a new school. This paved the way for the opening of the AES in 1994 by the DepEd Division Office in Negros Oriental. In 1996 Sison had to be assigned as ordinary teacher by the Division Superintendent to this far-flung school bringing with her a wealth of experience from teaching in private schools in Dumaguete City. Two teachers came ahead of her. Both did not stay long.

    Sison could have chosen a far better assignment. After all, she topped the ranking of qualified personnel to fill the position of school teacher and she can choose posting in better-situated schools if she cares to. She, however, let her sense of mission decide. And so she packed her bags and found her way to far-off Sitio Avocado.

    “The students, young and adults, who have lost six years of education really need help,” stressed Sison. There were 66 students and the school had only grades 1 and 2 classes.

    Sison noticed that there was already an established pattern in the area when she came in – when students are done with the first two years in elementary, they only have two “ career path “ waiting for them -- either they get armed or they worked in the farm. “ I saw the urgency of breaking the cycle.”

    Sison then asked the District Supervisor of the Department of Education (DepEd) to allow her to open higher grade levels so that the children can continue with their schooling. Her request was not readily granted owing to lack of funds to hire new teachers. Eventually, when the higher grade levels were finally opened, some of the students were already adults yet were still in Grade 3.

    To say that Sison was multi-tasking was an understatement. She was actually doing so much at such a frenetic pace -- holding classes in all levels and running the school at the same time. She asked some of her adult students to act as her aide to look after the other classes when she was teaching in other levels. And because these adult students sometimes missed their class for acting as Sison’s aides, she held Saturday classes for them.

    “Never did I consider it a burden. It was an opportunity, in fact, a blessing,” she said. And the school thrived under her care. Eventually, positive changes set in -- DepEd was able to allocate funds to improve its facilities and hire additional teachers. Eventually, in 2005, DepEd appointed Sison as Principal of AES.

    Today, AES has 250 elementary pupils, 27 in kindergarten and 125 high school students. This is sufficient proof that she has succeeded in bringing back the resident’s interest in education which they have momentarily lost during the long years of conflict.

    Under the School Based Management program being implemented by the Department of Education, school heads like Sison are at liberty to explore ways by which they can run the school most beneficial to the school community. When the first batch of students graduated from high school, Sison and the other teachers helped them by looking for scholarship grants that could help bankroll their college education. “We approached the provincial governor, other private organizations and individuals. Talagang hindi namin pinabayaan ang mga estudyante,” she added.

    For her, to be able to send students to college was already an accomplishment. “For a life given to farming, venturing into college was indeed a big step for our students.” And the people have been very supportive. “Some shouldered the tuition fees while the AES teachers provided the students’ personal needs like uniforms and shoes.

    To date, the community is supporting 11 college students at the Negros Oriental State University in Sta. Catalina, some 24 kilometers away from Sitio Avocado. By March 2008, two students will finally get their college diploma in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education – they are Amado Callura and Irene Pandac. Looking back, Sison said: “I saw in them the thirst for education. And that is reason enough for me to stay and give my best.

    That Callura and Pandac took up education is an affirmation that they will carry the torch for the next generation of selfless educators. And Sison owns the bragging rights for making that possible.

     

     

  • Jan 22 2008

    DepEd health and nutrition personnel to get hazard pay benefits

    Health and nutrition personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) will receive Hazard Pay benefits according to their salary grade retroactive CY2007. DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus has issued DepEd Order No. 82 series of 2007 directing central office finance officers, regional directors and schools division superintendents to provide the hazard pay of the public health workers. Those with Salary Grade 1 to 19 are entitled 25% of their actual present salary while those with Salary Grade 20 and above shall receive no more than P4,989 a month.

    Lapus noted, “Health and nutrition personnel’s entitlement to hazard pay is in consideration of the nature of their work, which exposes them to low to high risk areas or workplaces as they provide health services to school populace.” A number of these personnel are assigned in provinces identified by the Department of Health as vector – infested with malaria (26 highly endemic provinces) filarial (17 affected provinces and 23 suspected provinces), schistosoma (28 provinces) and capillaria, to name a few.

    “In times of calamities or emergencies, these personnel are in the forefront rendering basic health and nutrition services, and their direct contact with the children, teachers and non-teaching personnel, not to mention their interface with parents during home visitation, highly expose them to risks,” stressed the DepEd chief.

    The DepEd Order is in pursuant to Republic Act 7305 (RA 7305) entitled “Magna Carta of Public Health Workers.”

    RA 7305 aims to promote and improve the social and economic well-being of the health workers, their living and working conditions and terms of employment. It is intended to develop their skills and capabilities in order that they will be more responsive and better equipped to deliver health projects and programs. Likewise, the law encourages those with proper qualifications and excellent abilities to join and remain in government service.

    Since the RA 7305 was issued in 1994, the DepEd public health workers have started receiving subsistence and laundry allowance every month. The Department currently employs around 4,000 health workers.

    The Department recognizes that DepEd health and nutrition personnel at the central, regional and division field offices are public health workers that face occupational hazards similar to the public health workers engaged in healthrelated work wherever they are located.

    “It is expected that granting of Hazard Pay benefits will uplift the morale of our hardworking health personnel who choose to work in the country amidst prevailing lure of opportunities overseas,” Lapus said.

    He added, “We are fully aware of the direct relationship between good health and academic performance, and the importance and relevance of the services of the public health workers towards better health and nutrition to reduce dropout rates of our students.”

    Director Thelma Santos of DepEd’s Health and Nutrition Center has affirmed that this benefit has been well-received by DepEd health workers. In related development, DepEd remains focused in improving the teachers’ living standard by means of monetary and non-monetary benefits. In 2007, DepEd settled almost P3.4 billion pesos in unpaid insurance and health premiums of its employees.

    In its year-end report, DepEd stated that in 2007 it paid some P1.7 billion in arrears representing government shares in GSIS contribution. The arrears were a result of the increase in GSIS premium from 9.5% to 12% for the period of July 1997 to December 1998.

    Another P862 million was released to cover employees’ compensation insurance premium adjustments when the government insurance agency increased the premium from P30 to P100.

    Meanwhile, P400 million were released last year to partially settle unpaid loyalty pays, step increments and other entitlements of DepEd personnel especially teachers. DepEd field offices are already reconciling records for any other unpaid obligations.

    DepEd has also released P388 million to cover PhilHealth premium adjustments. The government health insurance company increased its premium from P100 to P112.

     

     

  • Jan 22 2008

    DepEd’s intensified programs led to better performance in 2007

    Owing to the relentless efforts to solve the concerns in public education, the Department of Education (DepEd) increased enrollment rate, improved the nutrition of schoolchildren, and registered better student performance in reading and achievement tests.

    ‘Bayanihan’ for enrollment increase

    The department has been annually conducting the Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela that aim to involve the community – most importantly the parents – in getting the schools ready for the opening of the school year. Local businesses and school boards have also been tapped to articipate in this yearly event.

    “We at the department are working towards the inclusion of as many learners as possible in the basic educational system,” DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus said. “We go the extra mile for every child to learn and finish school,” he added.

    Oplan Balik Eskwela is an inter-agency convergence effort initiated by DepEd to ensure the smooth opening of classes. On the other hand, Brigada Eskwela is a nationwide voluntary effort of teachers, parents, and the community to participate in the repair of school buildings and furniture.

    “We are constantly tapping the participation of all education stakeholders to make our schools more conducive for learning,” Lapus stressed. “This is ne perfect manifestation of the spirit of bayanihan, and how everyone is willing to contribute something for our children” he added.

    These campaigns have encouraged more parents to send their children to school, as reflected in this school year’s enrolment rate. Enrolment in the Preschool Education Program rose from 522,255 to 557,220 learners, or an increase of 6.70 per cent. Meanwhile, pupil attendance rose from 90 per cent in 2006 to 95 per cent in 2007.

    More nourished and more active pupils

    But the bigger challenge is to encourage these children to stay in school and improve their performance. To do this, DepEd has integrated health and nutrition programs to improve attendance and performance among public school children.

    By expanding its coverage to include more pupils, the School Feeding Program registered a 300 per cent increase in 2007. Having covered only preschool and grade 1 pupils in 2006, this program now benefits all pupils from preschool to grade 6 included in the priority provinces. The number of beneficiaries rose from 676,740 thousand preschool and grade 1 pupils in 2006 to 2.7 million preschool and grades one to six pupils in 2007.

    To supplement the distribution of fortified rice, milk, biscuits, and breakfast items to children below the normal nutritional status, pupils and teachers have also availed themselves of a comprehensive medical and dental treatment, with a separate deworming treatment for both pupils and teachers. As an effect, the percentage of schoolchildren below the normal
    nutritional status decreased from 20% in 2006 to 17% in 2007.

    “The department concerns itself not only with the schoolchildren’s academic performance, but also with their physical condition and wellbeing,” Lapus explained. “We are cognizant of how their nutrition status directly affects their performance in school,” he added.

    Consequently, there was an increase in attendance of elementary pupils in priority provinces which was registered at 90% in 2006 to 95% in 2007. Provinces under Priority One include: Camarines Norte and Masbate in Bicol, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay, and Lanao del Norte in Northern Mindanao.

    Also in the list are Sarangani in SOCCSKSARGEN, Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte in CARAGA. Priority One provinces are those that need hunger mitigation initiatives the most, as identified by the National Economic Development Authority and the National Nutrition Council.

    Improving achievement levels

    Critical to raising the achievement level of school children is the improvement of their reading skills. DepEd’s Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP) aims to make every student an effective reader by the third grade, and with comprehension before proceeding to the fourth grade.

    The Education Chief stressed that “one of the challenges we at the department face is how to spur the habit of reading among public school children.”

    The results of grade three reading tests show that from 2006 to 2007, there was an increase of 9.58 percentage points in English – from 49.98 MPS in 2006, it further rose to 59.56 MPS in 2007. MPS, or Mean Percentage Score, refers to the percentage of correctly answered items in a test. It indicates the ratio between the number of correctly answered items and the total number of test questions.

    As for Filipino, there was an increase of 12.47 percentage points – from 48.43 MPS in 2006 to 60.90 MPS in 2007.

    “Reading opens doors to further knowledge and facilitates the learning process,” the DepEd Chief stated. “And we at DepEd are intensifying our ECARP to make our schoolchildren enlightened and learned readers,” he added.

    As an effect of these reading programs, grade six pupils who took the National Achievement Test posted a net gain of 9.66 per cent across all five subjects – Mathematics, English, Science, Araling Panlipunan, and Filipino.

    These interventions are part of the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda. Among BESRA’s goals is to attain functional literacy among Filipino schoolchildren by 2015. It is also the department’s priority agenda to systematically improve basic education nationwide.

    Lapus reiterated that “the myriad problems in our educational system cannot be solved overnight.” But “these modest gains attest to our efforts to bring our resources to scale to gradually upgrade the quality of Philippine public education.”

     

     

  • Jan 19 2008

    DepEd welcomes Indonesian Education Chief

    The Department of Education welcomed recently Dr. Bambang Sudibyo, Indonesian Minister of Education, who visited the country in the fulfillment of his mandate as President of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).

    DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus met with Dr. Sudibyo during the latter’s courtesy call in the Department, part of the minister’s itinerary in his visit to regional centers of the SEAMEO being hosted by the Philippines.

    “Regional cooperation is the trend in the international community. SEAMEO is a venue in exchanging best practices in the delivery of education that allows us to share and learn innovative approaches in teaching and learning,” Lapus said. Three SEAMEO centers are located in the Philippines. These are SEAMEO Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (INNOTECH) at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in UP Los Baños, Laguna, and Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network - Regional Center for Public Health (TROPMED Philippines) in UP Manila.

    Established in November 30, 1965, the SEAMEO as a chartered international organization promotes cooperation in education, science and culture in the Southeast Asian region. Its priority areas of cooperation are agriculture and natural resources, culture and tradition, information and communications technology, language, poverty alleviation, preventive health education, and quality and equity in education.

    SEAMEO member countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Most of these countries host at least one of the 15 specialist institutions or regional centers. The Philippines annually sends teachers, administrators, and officials to these centers for trainings and seminars.

    Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway are recognized as associate member countries of SEAMEO and Japan as a partner country. Meanwhile, the International Center for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) joins the organization as an affiliate member.

     

     

  • Jan 16 2008

    Fact Sheet - 2007 DepEd Performance Report

    Bigger Budget Went to Improve Basic Education

    • There is a significant increase in DepEd budget from 2004 to 2007.
      • 2004 – P109.52 billion
      • 2005 – 112 billion
      • 2006 – 121.5 billion
      • 2007 – 137 billion
    • Sharing between salary and non-salary items improved in favor of the latter
    • From 88%:12% in 2004-2005, it was 80%:20% in 2007 which means that more resources were allocated to improve quality of education.
    • School MOOE also increased
    • P83 per elementary student in 2004 to P213 in 2007 or an increase of 156%
    • P329 per high school student in 2004 to P596 in 2007 or an increase of 81%.
    • Private sector involvement in upgrading public education also improved remarkably.
    • From P300 million in 2004 to P4 billion in 2007 involving 93 private sector partners

    Strengthened Preschool Education

    • Combined public and private preschool enrolment steadily increased from 2003 to 2007.
    • From 831,730 (18.36%) in SY 2003-2004 to 952,109 (20.53) in SY 2006-2007 or 120,379 (2.17%) schoolchildren added to the system.
    • More than half of these numbers (557,220 children) are with DepEd’s Preschool Program.
    • Standard curriculum for 5-year olds was formulated in 2005

    Elementary & Secondary Education Programs

    Increased Enrolment

    • Since 2004, enrolment increased at about 2% of the school-aged population annually.
    • SY 2006-2007 enrolment was P19.7 million for both elementary and secondary levels where 86% or 16.9 million are in public schools.
    • The figures include 607,085 beneficiaries of service contracting and education vouchers program under GASTPE, which represents about 50% of private high school enrolment.

    Improved Nutrition and School Attendance

    • Beneficiaries of the Food for School program increased from 676,740 preschool and grade 1 pupils in 2006 to 2.7 million preschoolers and grades 1 to 6 pupils when the program was expanded in 2007.
    • Malnutrition incidence dropped from 21% in 2006 to 17% in 2007.
    • School attendance improved from 90% in 2006 to 95% in 2007.

    Improving School Performance

    • Reading and comprehension skills of Grade 3 students improved from a composite MPS of 49.21% in 2006 in English and Filipino to 60.23 % in 2007 or a net gain of 11.02 %.
    • The gain is attributed to DepEd investing resources in such programs as Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP) which ensures that every Grade 3 student becomes an effective reader with comprehension at their level before they move to Grade 4.
    • The achievement level of Grade 6 students also improved significantly from an MPS of51.49% in 2006 to 57.55% in 2007 or an increment of 11.77% for English, Science andMath.
    • Net performance on all subjects improved from an MPS of 54.66% in 2006 to 59.94% in2007 or an over-all increase of 9.66%
    • Likewise, the General Scholastic Aptitude for fourth year high school students improved.

    Strengthened Technical-Vocational Education

    • Also in 2007, DepEd introduced the Strengthened Technical-Vocational Education Program aimed at giving more high school students more livelihood options in case theyare unable to pursue 4-year degree courses.

    Inroads in ICT-based Education

    • DepEd’s adoption of ICT in education proceeded steadily through 2007 in partnershipwith such agencies as DTI, DOST, Ayala Foundation’s GILAS, Microsoft, Intel, ABSCBN’sKnowledge Channel and USAID.
    • Computer hardware, software and course wares were made available to public secondary and selected elementary schools and community learning centers.
    • As of 2007, a total of 4,712 high schools have access to computer services and 1,149 of them have internet connectivity.

    Addressing Resource Shortages

    Surpassing Targets in New Classrooms

    • The number of barangays and municipalities with no elementary schools or high school -- 445 in 2004 -- was reduced to 267 in 2007.
    • Reason given why there were no schools yet in the remaining barangays and municipalities was unavailability of site.
    • Incomplete primary and elementary schools in 2005 decreased to 4,637 in 2006 (66%)
    • Number of public schools organized increased from 36,710 in 2004 to 37,352 in 2007 or an addition of 642 (17%) more public schools into the system.
    • Construction of new classrooms accelerated to unprecedented pace: 12,490 classrooms in 2004; 9,407 in 2005; 14,887 in 2006; and 14,665 in 2007
    • It was made possible in partnership with other government offices, NGOs and the private sector.
    • These accomplishments surpassed the target of 6,000 classrooms every year.

    More Principals & Teachers Hired

    • Principal items were provided to 3,479 schools from 2006-2007, bringing down the number of schools without principal from 26,282 in 2006 to 22,803 schools this year.
    • For the period 2004-2007, a total of 42,572 teacher items were created as DepEd movestowards achieving the 1:50 teacher-student ratio.
    • 7,574 items in 2004; 6,475 in 2005; 7,237 in 2006 and 16,334 in 2007, the highest number in years.

    Promoting Teacher/ DepEd Personnel Welfare

    • DepEd organized a Panel and Internal Task Force on GSIS Issues and Concerns in 2007 to update service records, among other tasks. To date, 32.77 percent have already been uploaded to the GSIS database.
    • DepEd provided from its 2006 budget P400 million to partially settle unpaid entitlements (loyalty pay, step increments) of DepEd personnel, especially teachers.
    • Arrears in Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums representing government counterpart for the period July 1997 to December 1998 involving some P1.7 billion havebeen settled.
    • DepEd provided P388 million to cover PhilHealth premium adjustment
    • Another P862 million were provided by DepEd to cover Employees Compensation Insurance Premium.
    • Housing Program for Teachers and DepEd employees launched this year in partnership with Gawad Kalinga, PAG-IBIG and pioneering LGUs
    • To be piloted in Murcia, Negros Occidental with initial 200 houses; also in Caloocan City, Iriga City, San Carlos City and Zamboanga City.

     

  • Jan 16 2008

    Teachers come first – DepEd

    As the Department of Education addresses myriad concerns in upgrading the quality of public education system, it remains focused in improving the teachers’ living standard through monetary and non-monetary benefits. In 2007, DepEd settled almost P3.4 billion pesos in unpaid insurance and health premiums of its employees.

     

    “Teachers’ welfare and benefits are our paramount concern,” said Education Secretary Jesli Lapus.

    In its year-end report, DepEd stated that in 2007 it paid some P1.7 billion in arrears representing government shares in GSIS contribution. The arrears were a result of the increase in GSIS premium from 9.5% to 12% for the period of July 1997 to December 1998.

    Another P862 million was released to cover employees’ compensation insurance premium adjustments when the government insurance agency increased the premium from P30 to P100.

    Moreover, a joint DepEd-GSIS task force was organized by DepEd to address various GSIS-related issues and concerns. Members of the DepEd Task Force are senior finance, management, and field officials of the department, and representatives of various teacher organizations including the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and the Teachers Dignity Coalition.

    In a recent meeting with teachers and GSIS presided by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself, the GSIS committed to provide DepEd dedicated servicing desks in its central and field offices. In addition, a GSIS monitoring office in DepEd will also be created. The President also instructed GSIS CEO Winston Garcia to appoint a vice president exclusively for the DepEd account which represents the biggest single contributor to GSIS.

    Meanwhile, P400 million were released last year to partially settle unpaid loyalty pays, step increments and other entitlements of DepEd personnel especially teachers. DepEd field offices are already reconciling records for any other unpaid obligations.

    DepEd has also released P388 million to cover PhilHealth premium adjustments. The government health insurance company increased its premium from P100 to P112.

    “Since last year, we have successfully addressed decade’s old unpaid obligations,” Lapus stressed.

    Just last November 2007, DepEd signed a memorandum of agreement with Gawad Kalinga, Pag-Ibig Fund, and some pioneering local government units to undertake an affordable housing program for its more than 90,000 teachers who do not have a home of their own.

    GK offers low cost housing where the homeowners themselves are involved in the construction of their future homes in a 5 hectare land provided by the partner LGU. One hectare will serve as academic, recreation, and productivity areas while the remaining 4 hectares will be used for the more than 200 lots at 150 sq.m. per lot. A typical house will have a 46 sq. m. floor area with high ceiling and a 26 sq. m. loft. Each house will have finished walls and tiled kitchen and toilet when they are turned over.

    Beyond the construction, GK also implements projects that help enhance community living like livelihood programs and sports activities. A building for pre-school education is also part of the community package of GK for teachers. Recipients will only need to pay a monthly amortization of P1,300 for 25 years through Pag-ibig.

    In a related development, DepEd plans to organize pre-school programs by contracting the services of GK Sibol schools found in the communities the GK will establish. Furthermore, GK Sibol schools shall be integrated into the DepEd programs. They shall also be included as possible partners of the Adopt-ASchool program. Also, the Batang Bayani program of GK will be reviewed for possible integration to DepEd’s Basic Education curriculum.

    DepEd takes up one third of the entire government bureaucracy. Of its 517,515 employees, 471,837 are teachers. Last year, DepEd was given 16,334 new teacher items – more than double the 7,237 items given in 2006.

    Additionally, there are also about 37,000 teachers hired by local government units paid through the LGU’s local funds.

     

     

  • Jan 16 2008

    English proficiency: DepEd’s flagship program in 2008

    Recognizing the importance of English proficiency as an important building block in learning, the Department of Education has placed it as one of its priority programs for 2008 focusing on schools with low mastery level in the 2007 National Achievement Test (NAT).

    NAT measures what the students understand and can do. It covers Mathematics, English, Science, Filipino and Hekasi. To be given priority for urgent interventions are schools which obtained a mean percentage score (MPS) of 34 and below. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo showing great concern that the schools are not producing enough people competent in using the English language, has earmarked P500 Million for teacher-training.

    DepEd is currently implementing more focused school governance with 43,000 school improvement plans (SIP) and 187 division education development plans with well-defined targets on learning outcomes. This is in compliance with the directive of President Arroyo for a 30% improvement in the baseline data in English, Science and Mathematics by 2010.

    Still the 2007 NAT results showed marked improvements in the average (MPS) in English (12.45%) while Mathematics and Science registered 12.3% and 10.3% improvements respectively.

    Jesli Lapus, DepEd Secretary said, “Despite the improving NAT results in English among our students, we believe that we have to push even further to sustain their improving performance. Our bigger goal is to upgrade English instruction among those schools which performed below mastery level.”

    Based on set targets, intervention in students, teachers, and schools are also being prioritized. Student intervention packages include 1:1 new textbook-pupil ratio in English, Beginning Reading, Remedial Reading, Whole School Approach to Reading and Writing. The feasibility of setting up speech laboratories is currently being planned for 2008 implementation.

    DepEd also continues implementing ECARP or Every Child A Reader Program which aims to make children from Grade 1 to 6 able to read as expected at their own level.

    Meanwhile, intervention packages for teachers consist of training of mentors/coaches in teaching, reading and provision of lesson exemplars.

    DepEd records show that as of October 2007, some 137,420 elementary and secondary teachers have received training relevant to English instruction in different modes: live-in workshops and conferences facilitated by English specialists; school-based training with mentoring and coaching; and trainings conducted in coordination with teacher-training institutions.

    DepEd’s National English Proficiency Program (NEPP) which trains English proficient teachers to become mentors to less proficient teachers in their respective schools will continue and be strengthened. To date, 7,300 teachers have received intensive and hands-on training on English proficiency. In turn, these teachers have echoed what they learned to a total of 95,600 teachers in their respective schools under the Teachers Mentoring Teachers program.

    DepEd will assess 13,286 elementary and 1,320 secondary teachers in priority schools which are low-performing to determine English proficiency level and to keep track on school progress in reading.

    Meanwhile, DepEd bestow awards to Outstanding Reading teachers who emerged after a thorough nationwide search. Special awards are given to outstanding reading teachers in the 13 regions.

    Lapus emphasized that English proficiency is critical in learning as other key subjects such as Science and Mathematics use English in textbooks and other reference materials. Pilipino subjects remain in the curriculum and will not be sacrificed either according to Lapus.

    Part of DepEd’s initiative to improve English instruction is to ink partnership with local and international stakeholders. “The private sector has been one with us in our quest for solutions to the many problems we face in public education,” Lapus said.

    DepEd’s Bureau of Elemetary Education is currently developing Lesson Guides in English for Grade 1 to Grade 6 in collaboration with the Ateneo de Manila University. These guides are ready for use by teachers in the coming school year. As well, the Bureau of Secondary Education addresses the training needs of 18,892 English teachers where 16,625 are English majors while 2,267 are nonmajors. These teachers were provided training on mastery reading and writing and current reading pedagogy. The bureau is also preparing video lessons for first year high school for distribution next school year.

    Notably, significant contributions in raising the level of achievement in English in Mindanao area were made with USAID-Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQUALLS), AUSAID Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM).

    “We want more people to get involved. Indeed, it takes a community to create change. It takes all the hands available to regain Filipinos’ edge in the English language,” he added.

     

     

  • Jan 16 2008

    Improved Management System Optimized DepEd Resources

    The Department of Education (DepEd) introduced innovations in management systems in 2007 that aimed at optimizing the use of its resources and helped the department channel its resources to where it mattered most.

    “Complementing our educational reforms, we have introduced a number of governance-related innovations to ensure that DepEd resources are optimized,” Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said.

    In agreement with the Department of Budget and Management and the Civil Service Commission, DepEd pursued the Organizational Performance Indicators Framework that operates using performance indicators with baseline and target data to gauge program success or failure.

    DepEd likewise launched the Basic Education Monitoring and Evaluation System which resulted to better collection of reports, feedback system and management action.

    As a result of these management initiatives and such programs as Enrolment Day, Balik Eskwela and Brigada Eskwela, DepEd reported that enrolment continues to increase at about 2% annually since 2004.

    In 2006, the combined public and private enrolment in basic education aggregated to 19.4 million. For School Year 2006-2007 enrolment was P19.7 million for both elementary and secondary levels where 86% or 16.9 million are in public schools. The figures include 607,085 beneficiaries of service contracting and education vouchers program under Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), which represents about 50% of private high school enrolment.

    “If the enrolment in preschool education and alternative learning services are included, DepEd’s total clientele will exceed the 20 million mark,” Lapus pointed out. To address absenteeism and arrest the drop-out rate due to poor nutrition, DepEd introduced the Food for School Program whose beneficiaries increased from 676,740 preschool and grade 1 pupils in 2006 to 2.7 million preschoolers and grades 1 to 6 pupils when the program was expanded in 2007.

    In its 2007 State of Basic Education Report, DepEd noted that based on the Weight/Body Mass Index malnutrition incidence among enrolled public elementary students dropped from 20% in 2006 to 17% in 2007. Consequently, school attendance improved from 90% in 2006 to 95% in 2007.

    In addressing resource shortage, DepEd was able to reduce by 60% or to 267 the barangays and municipalities with no elementary or high school from 445 in 2004. Also, the number of public schools organized increased from 36,710 in 2004 to 37, 352 in 2007 or an addition of 642 more public schools into the system.

    In the same year-end report, DepEd said that the perennial classroom shortage has been substantially addressed with unprecedented number of classrooms that were constructed and repaired in 2007. From 14, 887 in 2006, the number rose to 25, 248 in 2007 including 10,583 repaired classrooms.

    These accomplishments which surpassed the target of 6,000 classrooms every year was made possible in partnership with other government offices, NGOs and the private sector.

    Relative to this, some 42,572 teaching position were created from 2004 to 2007 with the most number of teaching items made available in 2007 at 16,334 as DepEd tries to meet the standard of 1 teacher for every 50 students. Principal items were likewise provided to some 3, 479 schools from 2006 to 2007.

     

     

  • Jan 16 2008

    Gov’t infused more funds to improve basic education

    DepEd 2007 Year-End-Report

    Government and private sector spending to improve basic education rose 16 percent from P121.9 billion in 2006 to P141.3 billion in 2007 with more funds channeled to upgrade the teaching-learning process.

    Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said the 2007 funding support to basic education included the 14 percent increase in the national government appropriation and was augmented by unprecedented level of infusion from the private sector and official development assistance.

    DepEd’s share of P137 billion represented 20 percent of the 2007 national budget (net of internal revenue allotment (IRA) and debt service allocation). It comprised of personal services at P110 billion, maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) at P18.6 billion and capital outlay (CO) at P8 billion.

    “The budget distribution is an improvement from prior year’s, implying that more resources were made available this year to directly improve the teaching-learning process as seen from the allocation in MOOE and CO,” Lapus pointed out.

    The sharing between salary (personal services) and non-salary items (MOEE and CO) showed a marked improvement – from 88%:12% in 2004-2005 to 80%:20% in 2007.

    School MOOE has been raised significantly to enable principals and teachers to support teaching-learning activities in the classroom. From a per capita cost of P83 for elementary students in 2004, the amount rose 156% to P329 per child in 2007. Per capita spending for secondary students likewise increased by 81% from P329 in 2004 to P596 in 2007.

    Lapus added that more budget have been directed to support school-based management operations of those offering special programs in science, math, arts, sports, special education and technical-vocational education.

    DepEd’s Adopt-A-School program which allows the private sector to assist public schools and grants a 150% tax incentive has so far generated a record P4.05 billion worth of interventions, donations and pledges.

    “The private sector is obviously a very potent ally in upgrading the quality of education,” Lapus noted. “We just have to show them performance and results,” he added.

    Support to improve education comes in many forms and packages. It includes infrastructure and physical facilities, learning devices and direct assistance to schools, and teacher training and development, among others.

    The two areas which received the bulk of donations in 2007 were technology support for education which received P1.2 billion in assistance and health and nutrition which got P2.3 billion.

    Meanwhile, Official Development Assistance from multilateral and bilateral organizations which is another source of DepEd funding was recorded at P1.08 billion in 2007. Among these organizations that provided funding are Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

     

     

  • Jan 12 2008

    DepEd Advises: Respect the Philippine Flag

    The Department of Education has issued a set of guidelines on the proper use of Philippine flag befitting its role as symbol of the country’s sovereignty and unity.

    “Our flag deserves respect which our students both from public and private schools should bear in mind at such an early age,” said Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus.

    In a memorandum, Lapus said that during flag raising and retreat ceremonies, there should be actual singing of the national anthem and not by canned music. He added that no tattered or badly-faded flag should be allowed to fly in any school or office.

    He also directed the DepEd community to refer to the provisions of RA 8491 on the proper display and use of the Philippine flag, on the singing of the national anthem and the prohibited acts on its use.

    “It’s about time we get reminded of our patriotic duty to renew efforts to respect and pledge allegiance to this icon of a nation that is truly free,” he added. Among the provisions of the RA 8491 is the design of the flag, allowed and prohibited ways of its use, the pledge to the national flag and penalties for violation of any part of the law. Section 12 of the law states that “when the Philippine flag is flown with another flag, the flags, if both are national flags,
    must be flown on separate staffs of the same height and shall be of equal size.”

    It also directs that “the Philippine flag shall be hoisted first and lowered last.” Moreover, people should be conscious about is displaying the flag on a flagpole. The law also states that “if in a hanging position, the blue field shall be to the right (left of the observer). Since the flag is commonly displayed in schools, offices and stages or platforms, the law also dictates that “the flag shall be at the left (facing the stage) or the left of the office upon entering.”

    Prohibited acts involving the Philippine Flag are as follows:

    1. Lowering the flag to salute or compliment any person or object.
    2. To use the flag “as a drapery, festoon, tablecloth, covering for ceilings, walls,statues or other objects, as a pennant in the hood, side, back and top of motorvehicles, a staff or whip, for unveiling monuments or statues; and astrademarks, or for industrial, commercial or agricultural labels or designs.”
    3. Displaying the flag “under any painting or picture, horizontally face-up, belowany platform, or in discotheques, cockpits, night and day clubs, casinos,gambling joints and places of vice or where frivolity prevails.”
    4. Wearing “the flag in whole or in part as a costume or uniform.
    5. Adding “any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawings, advertisement, orimprint of any nature on the flag.”
    6. “Print, paint or attach representation of the flag on handkerchiefs, napkins, cushions, and other articles of merchandise.”
    7. Use the flag as “display or be part of any advertisement or infomercial.” and
    8. “To display the flag in front of buildings or offices occupied by” those who are not Filipino citizens.

     

  • Jan 10 2008

    DepEd gears up for 2008 A&E Test

    To give out-of-school youth (OSY) a much-deserved second chance at learning, the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to administer the 2008 Accreditation and Equivalency Test in all of its 188 school divisions nationwide.

    “This is a significant initiative DepEd has implemented to make our system of education more inclusive,” DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus said. “We recognize the need to implement these initiatives that will make our public schools more attuned to the realities of our time,” he added.

    Spearheaded by DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test is designed to provide learners with a range of alternatives to allow continuity in learning outside the formal school system. It also determines the examinees’ skills and inclinations.

    Those who successfully pass the A&E Test are given a certificate equivalent to a grade six or fourth year high school diploma in the formal school system. The A&E Test will be administered in four occasions:

    • February 3, 2008 in the Mindanao Region
    • February 10 for the Visayas and Bicol Regions;
    • February 17 in Luzon Cluster I (Regions I, II, III and CAR)
    • February 24 in Luzon Cluster II (Regions IV-A, IV-B and NCR)

    The registration period was held from September 3, 2007 to November 23, 2007. The department has started preparing as far back as August 22, 2007 by holding regional orientations to familiarize examinees on test procedures.

    Meanwhile the division level orientations were conducted and presided over by the schools division superintendents and assistant schools division superintendents. District supervisors, ALS district coordinators and principals were also present during those orientations.

    To supplement this, orientations will be held two days before the testing dates. The first is scheduled on February 1, 2008, to be followed by February 8. Third and fourth orientations will be held on February 15 and 22 for Luzon clusters I and II, respectively.

    Secretary Lapus stressed the need to increase public awareness on the department’s alternative programs for non-formal learning. “Certainly there are many out-of-school youth who will be interested to hear of the department’s ALS programs,” he said.

    DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System (DepEd-BALS) has been crafting strategies to promote alternative learning. The bureau has been implementing various projects and programs aimed at creating alternative modes of learning. These are specifically designed for learners who were not able to avail themselves of formal schooling, such as the adult illiterates, outof-school youth, and drop-outs. Key programs include Basic Literacy Program for indigenous peoples and the Mobile Teacher Program that taps the
    services of qualified teachers who personally seek the learners in far-flung areas to build Community Learning Centers.

     

     

  • Jan 03 2008

    DepEd pushes for decentralization

    The Department of Education (DepEd) now goes full throttle in its effort to decentralize education management – a strategy that is expected to improve the department’s operating efficiency and upgrade education quality.

    In line with this effort, DepEd is pushing for the implementation of the School-Based Management, a key component of the department’s Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA). BESRA is a widely-accepted reform initiative which recognizes that schools, as the key providers of education, should be able to continuously improve by being empowered to make informed and localized decisions based on their own unique needs.

    SBM gives school heads and their teachers a wide berth to create linkage with the local government and the private sector and be able to tap them for the improvement of the local school.

    “The underlying principle in SBM is that the people directly involved and affected by school operations are the best persons to plan, manage and improve the school,” Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said.

    According to Lapus it is very important to create an environment where all the people involved in the decentralization process not only agree but also commit to make that change happen.

    “Together with correct decentralization policies, we must be able to strengthen all the stakeholders’ capacity to perform their task under a decentralized set-up. DepEd has already wrapped up a series of workshops participated in by key DepEd officials from the regions and the central office where the roles and functions at different levels were fleshed out in detail. The competencies necessary to perform these functions were likewise identified. “These competencies will have to be developed professionally since decentralization is a change management initiative,” Lapus added.

    Lapus also stressed that it is the role of the national, regional and division offices to make sure that all the necessary support structures are in place to aid the local stakeholders in managing their schools.

    DepEd has the biggest manpower complement in the entire government bureaucracy with more than 500, 000 teaching and non-teaching personnel in 2,384 districts, 180 divisions in the country’s 16 regions.

    DepEd’s foreign-assisted projects have paved the way for experimentation and study of different decentralization models. The Third -Elementary Education Project (TEEP) and the Secondary Education Development and Improvement Project (SEDIP) have piloted various initiatives in 23 provinces towards improving DepEd’s readiness for SBM.

    Currently, only public secondary schools enjoy fiscal autonomy. This leaves elementary schools, which constitute the majority of public schools, dependent on mostly centralized management set-up.

    Based on DepEd experience, TEEP has proven that given the correct policies and conditions, elementary schools can effectively implement and benefit from SBM. SEDIP teamed up with the Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO-INNOTECH) to implement the Decentralized Management Development Program (DMDP), a six month program that aims specifically to address the issues hindering the full roll-out of decentralization in DepEd. The DMDP will approach decentralization from a broader perspective, thus rounding out the preparations for a wide-scale SBM roll-out.

    Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Teodoro Sangil said that the inputs gathered from BESRA, TEEP, SEDIP, other FAPs, and most recently, SEAMEO-INNOTECH will propel complete decentralization.

    Sangil enthused,” Successful decentralization and SBM will not only make us more effective, they will produce the best results for the basic education sector in terms of learning and management.”