The Department of Education (DepEd) has always taken its responsibility of ensuring the efficient and successful conduct of every election in the country in closed coordination and cooperation with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and other agencies and organizations. DepEd also recognizes the importance of the role that Public School Teachers play in this exercise of democracy, and is committed to upholding their safety and well-being.
This year DepEd is launching the DepEd Election Monitoring App to enhance responsiveness in sending status reports, in consolidating and processing these reports, and in addressing reported issues and concerns. In previous years DepEd has had to wade through massive and scattered data from all forms of media and must sort through all of them properly before being able to respond. Now, through this simple and ingenious use of Digital Technology, we are providing a more efficient way of gathering, consolidating, centralizing, and managing all this information into a format that is easily understood and actionable, all in Real-Time.
Several statements have already been made to the media by different groups regarding the use of this monitoring app, but all are anchored on baseless fears and insinuations, absence of actual contact or experience is using the app, usual opposition to any change, and/or automatic bias against reforms. DepEd hereby provides the following points in order to guide everybody:
DepEd is not compelling the use of the Election Monitoring App
While the submission of reports is required, the use of the DepEd Election Monitoring App is an option, a simpler, easier, quicker and more efficient option. DepEd is not compelling any of its teachers to download and submit their reports via the app if they feel that the burden is not worth the time they will save in sending the report, not worth the centralized data monitoring and real-time report generation, and not worth the accessibility to a sufficient response at an acceptable time.
Not all teachers are required to submit the reports, only one member of the Electoral Board (EB) per precinct is already enough, and though they will be using their own smart phone device to download and submit reports, the app will generate a coupon code upon reports submission for load redemption after the election.
The DepEd Monitoring App takes less than 5 minutes in sending report
The DepEd Monitoring App is designed to be user-friendly and reporting will only take less than 5 minutes to submit/upload the reports to the server, if all questions are answered, and much lesser if only partial ones are made at a given time. The sets of questions presented in the app, while really comprehensive, are also designed to be all answerable by just clicking TRUE or FALSE buttons. Photos may also be taken at anytime using the app which includes a date and time stamp for verification purposes.
While we concur that this may be viewed as so-called “additional work” by a few as this is the first time the Department is launching or taking on this endeavor and engaging the reporting process through a digital by default approach, the app in reality just simplifies, makes easier and quicker, and more efficient the work already there and to be done. Following international usage, “digital by default” means digital services that are convenient and reliable that all those who can use them will choose to do so while those who cannot are not excluded.
If data are collected properly, officials are able to easily get a picture of activities and reports within hours, not in months or in weeks. Thus, we urge the understanding of our teachers, personnel and officials of the so-called “additional minutes of work” to make this reporting system beneficial and worthwhile for the whole department.
The DepEd Monitoring App is for the benefit of the teachers as it reports their issues and concerns and enables prompt action, both in real time
DepEd affirms and has contemplated that it has been given a very daunting and challenging role/tasks, and the teachers must be equipped and must have the proper tool/s to submit reports as incidents happen on the ground for data/ activities monitoring:
- To ensure that users have available tools/equipment and resources to do their tasks
- To ensure that our users/teachers are protected, their rights are upheld, and their welfare and benefits secured and delivered
- To deliver sufficient and prompt action
- To ensure that our school facilities and properties are also looked after, protected and reports are submitted if any incident of damage occurs
- To document activities in a timely manner
When at 7:00am, for example, the central, region and division offices simultaneously receive the consolidated reports from teachers, via use of the app, indicating the number of teachers having received or having not received 50% of their transportation allowances, then the offices may immediately pass on the information to their COMELEC counterparts at the national, regional and district offices and remind or pressure them into releasing such funds/benefits in accordance with established procedures. Prompt action and immediate solution to solve similar teachers’ woes is made possible with the use of the monitoring app. Such is made more important in real time when reports cover emergency matters like harassments, threats of violence, accidents, etc., when prompt and immediate action or intervention is urgently needed.
The DepEd Monitoring App makes the Department and its officials more accessible and responsive to teachers and employees
The DepEd needs to be accessible to teachers and employees who need its help, and one best way to be accessible and be responsive is to take advantage of digital technology.
The monitoring app is designed, made and used to attain the following:
- Simplified and easy to understand teacher’s reporting mechanism
- Faster communication
- Accurate Information Gathering and Consolidation
- Centralized Monitoring and Analysis
- Reports Generation at a click of a button
- Accessible assistance and response to concerns in a timely manner
The use of emerging digital technologies will enable the department to effectively and efficiently fulfill its vital and critical tasks to gather, consolidate, centralize and manage information. Hence, the Office of the Undersecretary of Administration (OUA), the Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) and the Election Task Force (ETF) enjoin the use of the mobile monitoring app for a coordinated information and help desk system.
The DepEd Monitoring App’s launch is a start. It will gather feedback because we firmly believe that every app and process needs improvement and will set a better monitoring process for the next elections to come. Rest assured, DepEd remains committed to the welfare of its personnel, and in pursuing measures and innovations that support it.