The Aspirations of the Administration Strand of the Department of Education (DepEd) under the Leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones
The Department of Education (DepEd), under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, has taken significant measures to aggressively address and respond to the challenges and needs of the times through a shared vision of a quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all. New programs, projects, and activities thus far initiated have been carried out to benefit learners, teachers and non-teaching personnel, administrators, and other education stakeholders. Reforms from lessons learned have been introduced and put to task. Change has come at the DepEd.
In support of this, the Strand under the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) has envisioned for the Department its vision for the Public Schools of the Future, the essence of which is expressed in detail here.
DEPED PUBLIC SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE
The Public School of the future is not only adequate, conducive to learning, and resilient, but is fully-supported by the necessary support services for both teacher and learner.
With these in mind, the Public Schools of the Future is hereby presented.
ENOUGH INFRASTRUCTURE AND FACILITIES
All public schools have adequate physical facilities – sustainable infrastructure that is safe, secure, and provides a conducive teaching-learning environment, to wit:
- Classrooms compliant with the standards and parameters set by the Curriculum and Instruction and Field Operations Strands.
- Classrooms with enough tables and chairs that provide comfort and ease to learners in their daily tasks of reading, writing, and listening; adequate supply of books and portable computers that encourage creative thinking, collaboration, and exchange of ideas; lockers and cabinets for keeping bags, other classroom materials, equipment, and supplies.
There are Science and Technology, Vocational, and Livelihood laboratories, complete with essential equipment, supplies, materials, and provisions for storage, as well as a library and/or learning resource center with books, tablets, and necessary teaching and learning tools and items.
Aside from instructional rooms, each public school has the necessary support structures to sustain its operation: administrative building with principal’s office, faculty room; canteen and feeding room; student center, dormitory, a fully-equipped disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) office, and stockroom.
There is a Multipurpose Hall, with stage, that serves as a gymnasium, assembly area, activity center, and facility for the arts. There is also an open space for playgrounds and for after-class sports and other extra-curricular activities of learners, with enough playground and sports equipment.
Each floor of the school buildings has DRRM cabinets with disaster preparedness and emergency response supplies and equipment.
Depending on available space, plots for plant and vegetable gardens that serve as living laboratories for learners, and supplement/sustain the school-based feeding program; also included is the planting of native/endemic trees and flowers around the school perimeter and along pathways.
There is a Parents’ Hub where parents and guardians can comfortably stay while waiting for their children or wards. The Hub displays information and updates on DepEd and school programs, projects, and activities, including risk reduction measures, e.g. what to do before, during and after a disaster. The area also serves as a venue for parent/guardian education activities, such as lectures and workshops to build a robust school community and encourage active participation and support from learners’ families.
The public school is enclosed by a perimeter fence and gate built for the security and safety of learners, teachers, administrators, and employees. The gate and pathways ensure the easy passage of firetrucks and rescue vehicles in times of emergencies.
Two-storey Administration and Climate Change Emergency Storage and Shelter (ACCESS) Buildings are constructed in public schools which only have one floor facilities and are prone to floods.
The public school and its facilities are painted in standard DepEd colors, with variations allowed in certain areas to conform with local culture and tradition. The standard DepEd logo is prominently displayed in each school alongside the school name, identification number or code, and core values, among others.
All public schools are provided with potable water and are powered using renewable energy (installed with solar panels). Drinking stations with potable water supply, hand washing facilities, and comfort rooms are not only adequately provided but also regularly kept clean and maintained. Rainwater catchment facilities are present in every school.
The Central Office, the Regional Offices, and the Division Offices are provided with adequate office and working spaces, together with wellness areas, and all the supplies, materials, and equipment needed to efficiently perform their duties and responsibilities.
Decent quarters are made available to Regional Directors, Assistant Regional Directors, Schools Division Superintendents, Assistant Schools Division Superintendents, Education Program Supervisors, and other officials deployed away from home on official business. Quarters are furnished with technological support to capacitate them to perform their tasks even when physically away from their home bases.
Every five years, public schools and offices are repaired and rehabilitated under the “Repair All Policy” framework, with new construction projects to address increases in enrollment and the expanding workforce. Ten thousand schools and offices undergo repairs, rehabilitation, and new construction every year. Priority repairs and special attention are given to schools serving as billeting areas in division, regional, and national athletic meets, schools press conferences, science and technology fairs, festival of talents, and other DepEd events. Damaged schools, either totally or partially, due to disasters are prioritized.
Gabaldon and heritage public school buildings are identified and properly restored. All original features are highlighted, profiles and history properly recorded and displayed, and their unique standard colors followed nationwide. Gabaldon and other heritage public school buildings receive additional funds for their yearly maintenance.
Congress has legislated and the President has approved the law giving the lands where public schools have been constructed and existing for at least five years to DepEd. Disputes with owners and claimants have been settled.
UPDATED BASELINES AND MASTERPLANS
DepEd has complete, accurate, updated, and reliable inventory of all facilities and equipment covering all public schools and all offices nationwide. Public schools and offices each have development/improvement plans, featuring the existing situation and projected expansion for the next 10 to 15 years, with steady and regular milestones every 3 years.
All public school and office sites have undergone geotechnical testing and all soil test results are properly and accurately recorded in databases. Their proximity to the town/city center is measured and the conditions of the roads and terrain are also documented and recorded. Public schools along and surrounded by coasts have prominently displayed information of the level of their grounds vis-à-vis sea level. All repairs and new constructions are guided by these scientific findings, so all designs and plans conform to the required safety standards set forth by law, policies, rules, and existing regulations issued in addressing the specific conditions of each area.
Public schools, Classrooms, and Offices are adapted for climate change, urban migration, land shortage, and are calamity-resilient. Old structures are retrofitted and renovated, and new constructions built based on the new designs that vary, depending on the hazards and topographical conditions confronting the areas.
In urban centers like Metro Manila where urban migration, over population and absence of buildable spaces are apparent, green buildings powered by renewable energy are designed and constructed to replace old and existing public schools with eight to fifteen floor vertical structures to cater to growing student population for the next 15 to 20 years.
DepEd adopts and implements 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year public education facilities development plans that address the needs and requirements of schools and offices within the next 5 to 20 years. These are in conformance with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) Targets and Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) 2050.
The minimum standard as to the number and kind of facilities needed per public school is defined following a set of standards. Initially, the minimum standard requires at least 4 instructional rooms and another 4 rooms to cover other school needs.
All public schools and offices are insured. Damages caused by calamities and other force majeure are covered by the insurance policy are immediately repaired and rehabilitated, to ensure the fast recovery to functionality after a disaster and the prompt delivery of services to the learners.
DepEd employs an adequate number of regular plantilla-item engineers and architects from the national level down to the division offices. Each legislative district is provided with at least 2 engineers to focus on the planning, implementation, and monitoring of construction and repair projects in every district. Public schools have their own Building and Facilities Maintenance Personnel who undertake minor repairs in between the 5-year repair cycle, and who maintain all facilities on a daily basis, and their own Property Custodians. Requirement for both public school personnel is addressed by the provision of non-teaching and administrative item in all public schools. They are augmented and supported by Administrative Aides from the ranks of Senior High School students and graduates. The provisions of public school security is also adequately addressed.
THE DIGITAL RISE
DepEd addresses the changing needs of time by adopting a new policy direction in transforming education. The adoption of a strong foundational framework and support in educational technology in accordance with the promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) reveals the redefinition of teaching practices with the use of technology to leverage the support in curriculum and instruction. The Philippine public education system lead by DepEd is suitably preparing learners to thrive in this dynamic new world of technology.
The initial approach of upskilling public school teachers, the foundation of DepEd’s capacity-building transformation has been achieved. Public school teachers are provided with and trained in the use of the latest technology and are able to fully integrate ICT in the classroom setup. Laptops, wireless display adapters, and amplifier microphones are made available, and the teaching-learning process is made easy, efficient, and effective.
Each classroom is equipped with a digital board, LCD/LED TV display, or Interactive Screen Display as a replacement of or in addition to the traditional use of whiteboards and blackboards. These digital displays enhance the teaching-learning process by using videos, interactive applications and games, virtual field trips, and as gateways to access digital information in the world’s information highway.
Every public school has a Techno-Hub where computers and IT equipment are installed to cater and support the digital needs of all academic and co-curricular subjects. Computer literacy does not only focus on ICT subjects alone but also on its application across other learning areas. The availability of Techno-Hub facilities gives way to the creativity and innovative ideas of learners and even their teachers as they work together to solve local issues and problems in relation to the use of ICT.
The support for additional reading resources and materials to make learners engage in contextual learning is made possible with every public school library having a number of tablets and laptops where digital copies of books, magazines, periodicals, and other related reference materials are stored and made readily available.
Every public Science High School in the country has an Innovation Hub (iHub) where the latest available emerging technologies are provided for the use and manipulation of learners having ICT as an elective. These iHubs enable them to solve local and community ICT-based problems, issues, and concerns with the use of available technologies aligned with the industry standards. The iHub houses 3D Printing Technology, Makerspace, Robotics Engineering and Simulation, Mechatronics Facilities, and Drone Technology, among others. Strong partnerships from related industries fully support this endeavor.
The public Science High Schools are also centers of excellence in the field of Cyber Security and Industrial Robotics. Trainings are provided to public school teachers to enable them to impart and capacitate the learners in the world of Cyber Security. These teachers have certifications with global and international standards. The said science high school offerings are included in the curriculum from Junior to Senior High School. Graduates that acquire this track have an option to be a certified Cyber Security expert that qualifies and assures them of a highly in-demand job for the next 5-20 years.
All public school learners have tablets or laptops, or access to them. All learners utilize these educational learning tools that contain thousands of digital content ranging from textbooks, real-time information, reference materials, lessons and exercises, instructional educational videos, and even test administration. These learning tools highly engage learners in understanding concepts clearly and in making them more adept to the requirements of the K-12 Curriculum. The transformative learning in using these educational devices enhances the 21st Century Skills of learners, and bridges the digital divide, most especially in the Last Mile Schools.
DepEd Information Technology Officers (ITOs) from the national to the division levels are regularly capacitated to enable them to address the technical requirements of laboratories and equipment, and to enable them to help train and capacitate the teachers. These trainings keep them updated with the latest advancements in the use of technology in education to maximize the available equipment. An appropriate number of ITO per given number of public school or equipment is provided to allow the proper maintenance of equipment and systems. They are assisted by IT Aides at the school level who maintain the Techno-Hubs. The IT Aides come from the ranks of Senior High School students and graduates.
All public schools and administrative offices are inter-connected with one another in various levels, both horizontally and vertically, through the DepEd Wide Area Network (DWAN). Communications and delivery of services are made easy where content can be pushed both ways anytime even without internet connection. The said facility swiftly improves the governance and services of the entire DepEd community. Likewise, all public schools and administrative offices are provided with enough internet bandwidth to enable them to connect and explore the world wide web. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are utilized for planning and project monitoring. This makes online communication robust and become a better gateway to collaborate with other stakeholders and learning communities locally and overseas.
All DepEd systems are migrated to a private and secure cloud environment to ensure a high level of accessibility and security even in the event of disasters, thus adopting a hybrid approach for mission critical systems to allow operations to continue with or without internet. DepEd maximizes the use of available technology to transform education to facilitate governance and to enable all its constituents with the proper digital skills demanded by the FIR. DepEd has also moved away from building its own software to purchasing off-the-shelf system in the form of the DepEd Enterprise Resource Planning System (DERPS). This has accelerated the implementation of various organizational systems and has ensured the availability of numerous vendors that can be contracted to make future adjustments in its software. DepEd has ensured systems and software sustainability by reversing and rectifying the department’s dependency on a limited group of individuals or consultants.
The efficacy of using mobile applications in the workplace makes a good integration of all existing tools and information systems readily available in one click. Thru the DepEd Mobile Apps, all reports of teachers, administrators, and program coordinators are ICT-enabled where all input and data are saved, stored, recorded, and integrated in a single mobile platform. In addition, all public schools and offices have a classroom-integrated information management system where planning, implementation, and monitoring of all programs and projects are fully automated.
The operation and governance of DepEd is strengthened with continued efforts of the administration in partnership with international industry players like Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, LinkedIn, Google, and Apple to deliver quality and future-ready resources for the benefit of learners, teachers, and administrators, as well as the entire DepEd community.
- The Facebook’s Workplace Group facilitates administration, management and governance, as well as academic discussion and teaching.
- The Facebook’s Pages are used by all public schools, all student organizations, all offices, all DepEd organizations, all program coordinators and implementers for the dissemination of information to the public.
- The LinkedIn is available to the Senior High School learners who make accounts where they start building their resumes and curriculum vitae in preparation for job application and work upon graduation. The industry and all sectors of society needing employees are directed to explore the availability of young professionals and workers therein.
- Microsoft’s Office 365 accounts are given to learners, teachers, administrators, and all non-teaching personnel to utilize latest available productivity tools helpful in the continued professional development and learning in using technology.
- Adobe’s Creative Cloud Technology Software is given to Junior High School and Senior High School learners, ICT teachers, and all non-teaching personnel (related to the job function) to utilize latest available creation and design tools helpful in the growing demands of digital arts and development.
- Oracle’s Technology is integrated in the Science High School offerings and ICT classes to support the technical industry needs on creation, innovation, and support to solve local problems using Information Technology.
Lastly, an annual DepEd Cyber Expo is held as a platform for learners, teachers, and administrators to showcase their IT-enabled products, achievements, experiences, best practices, and innovations, and new finds from all over the world are presented and discussed. The showcase is the wrap-up of continuous learning and development of the entire DepEd community in pursuit of digital excellence and transformation to support the requirements of the K-12 Curriculum.
The Digital Rise in Philippine public education has come. DepEd provides the best future for our learners by creating changes that mark the milestones of educational reform to teach minds, touch hearts, and transform lives.
ENSURED CONTINUITY OF EDUCATION
With the current changing and oftentimes unpredictable and severe natural weather occurrences, DepEd relocates public school and office sites that are in hazardous areas as determined by scientific findings thru the facilities inventory, geotechnical tests and collaboration with other government agencies. It is prepared to deal with damages that are brought by calamities and the subsequent effects these may bring.
Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), and Education in Emergencies (EiE) in the K-12 Curriculum is ensured thru the identification of standard key messages.
Funds for preparedness and mitigation, and funds for clean-up and school rehabilitation are readily available as they are downloaded or prepositioned even before the occurrence of the calamity, when cases of such are possible, for easy access and availability within 24 hours after the occurrence of a calamity.
Classroom Tents (Temporary Learning Spaces) are provided and strategically distributed to regional and division offices. They are delivered and put up within 24 hours after a calamity, thereby ensuring the uninterrupted delivery of basic education services.
Buffer materials and equipment, such as textbooks, instructional materials, reference books, computers and IT equipment, tables and chairs, science equipment, technical-vocational supplies, and all other classroom, laboratory, and office contents are annually allocated with proper inventory and storage. They are stored in warehouses strategically located nationwide and are delivered and installed within 48-72 hours after the occurrence of a calamity.
Return to early normal operations of public schools is enabled thru providing play therapy sessions and psychological first aid to learners and personnel, as well as emergency school feeding.
The timely provision of the aforementioned interventions is facilitated by the use of the Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADaR) app developed with partners for the real time and consolidated reports of damages being caused or caused by disasters, and other systems developed under the Comprehensive School Safety (CSS) program.
The DRRM Team and Disaster Management Group in the Central Office are mobilized to ensure the continuity of operations of the Department and the delivery of education services. They are well trained and provided with response equipment.
The system of pairing and twinning within the DepEd family is institutionalized where unaffected areas readily mobilize resources for the quick recovery of the affected areas. The Marawi Response as the DepEd Bayanihan model is institutionalized. As such, Brigada Eskwela is no longer just an annual event to prepare public schools for opening of schoolyear, it becomes the very response of the community after every disaster to prepare the schools for the re-opening of classes.
DepEd has a National Emergency Operation Center (DepEd NEOC) at Clark, Pampanga to serve as the alternative physical center in the event that the Big One or any major calamity disables the Central Office and the National Capital Region. The DepEd NEOC also houses the Disaster Recovery Facility of all systems, databases, and solutions of the Deped Central Office. The DepEd NEOC is ready to be manned by personnel from designated regions and divisions. Even without available air transport services from those outside of Luzon, Schools Division offices from Olongapo, Angeles, Tarlac, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales are nearby Clark, and have been trained for quick response and deployment. DepEd continues to operate even if the Big One knocks out Metro Manila.
The DepEd NEOC is housed at the Clark Teachers Camp established as DepEd’s Disaster Preparedness or DRRM Academy.
DepEd continues to champion the learners, the schools, the teachers, non-teaching personnel, and administrators as Zones of Peace. It stands firm on its commitment that no armed individuals or groups are allowed presence within school premises. It also stands on its position that public schools are not to be used as evacuation centers. DepEd has the support of the President that local government units (LGUs) must build separate evacuation centers and avoid using the public schools as such in order to ensure the continuity of education even in the worst calamity situation.
The Philippines, under the initiative of the DepEd and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), is actively participating, having already signed, in the promotion and advancement of the Safe Schools Declaration at the international arena.
Public schools are provided with adequate first aid and emergency kits, fire extinguishers, and all others equipment, supplies, and materials needed in emergencies. Additional plantilla positions for DRRMS staff and coordinators from the national to the division levels are created to support the mandate of DepEd in providing access to quality education, even in the midst or aftermath of a disaster. The DRRMS staff includes emergency engineers and architects, who facilitate and fast track monitoring of repair and reconstruction of damaged school buildings. They also develop environment sensitive designs or solutions for schools in hazard prone areas.
The two-storey Administration and Climate Change Emergency Storage and Shelter (ACCESS) Buildings constructed in public schools which only have one floor facilities and are prone to floods are fully utilized during emergencies and calamities. They provide safe spaces for DepEd equipment, tools, materials and supplies that are easily damaged or destroyed when floods and natural calamities happen. School administrators, teachers, personnel and learners have learned lessons from past calamities and now act together to safekeep equipment, tools, materials and supplies whenever natural calamities are predicted to occur.
FOCUSED HEALTH AND NUTRITION
DepEd’s Health programs are primarily directed towards providing and strengthening health and nutrition education and the delivery of health services, with priority given to vulnerable learners and those needing emergency care in public schools. The Oplan Kalusugan sa DepEd (OK sa DepEd) converges and encapsulates all the major health-related programs implemented in public schools every July and January – School-Based Feeding; Drug Education; Adolescent Reproductive Health Education; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH); Medical, Dental and Nursing Services; and Mental Health.
OK sa DepEd promotes and provides all learners and DepEd personnel with a sustainable holistic public school health and nutrition program geared towards healthier behaviors and better learning outcomes. It efficiently implements school-based health and nutrition programs and services through rational programming in terms of resources and services. It provides all public school learners with basic and emergency health and nutrition services to allow them to attain their full educational potential. It also generates information on the health and nutrition records of all learners as a basis for planning and programming.
OK sa DepEd also ensures wellness of DepEd personnel through the provision of basic medical care for better productivity. It promotes a wellness program to help teachers attain a healthy work and life balance given the stresses and challenges of their professions.
As OK sa DepEd’s physical centers, the public school clinics are hubs for providing and strengthening health and nutrition education as well as targeted medical, dental, nursing, and nutrition service delivery. The clinic’s health services are remedial and for emergency cases only for learners and DepEd personnel. The school clinics do not take over the role of the Clinics or Medical Centers of LGUs and the Department of Health (DOH). They, however, help the LGU/DOH fulfill their core function of providing health services by offering the clinics as hubs for their delivery of services, since public schools are physical catchments of school children.
Each public school clinic is established to serve 23 public schools or 12,000 learners, strategically located in areas where there are no functioning municipal or barangay health centers. An Office Clinic is also established for every regional and division office as well as for the Central Office to cater to DepEd personnel and for Teachers Camps to cater to trainees and guests. Since the number of public school clinics are not yet adequate to serve all learners, there are also mobile clinics that constantly visit public schools without clinics to bring medical and dental services to all learners, teachers, and personnel needing appropriate and emergency care.
DepEd doctors, dentists, nurses, nutritionists, dieticians, guidance counselors, and other health personnel are properly assigned and appropriately deployed in the supervision and management of public school and office clinics with sufficient traveling funds, rightfully enjoying their Magna Carta benefits, and provided with opportunities for professional growth and development. Their number and items have been expanded and made clearer, and they are efficiently and effectively fulfilling their mandate in the department.
Senior High School students taking up care-giving and wellness, officers and members of Red Cross School Chapters, DRRM Student Organizations, and volunteer Junior Doctors assist the health personnel in the management of public school clinics and in the delivery of health services. Partnerships with tertiary educational institutions have been forged in mobilizing medical, dental, pre-medical, pre-dental, health and science students in the implementation of OK sa DepEd. Partnerships with health-related companies and organizations are well established making the OK sa DepEd’s implementation truly multi-stakeholder and comprehensive.
The School-based Feeding Program is implemented with minimal participation from teachers who are much more focused on their teaching roles. The participation of the LGU and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is maximized to enable school-based feeding to address an even bigger number of beneficiaries, in support or in expansion of DepEd’s “Feed One, Feed All” policy for schools with less than 100 learners.
The Gulayan sa Paaralan Program using bio-intensive gardening and the utilization of local, sturdy vegetable varieties is revitalized not only to augment the school-based feeding program but also to teach learners how to produce their own food and increase their consumption of vegetables. Public schools with limited land areas use the latest available agricultural technologies to create and maintain their garden areas despite lack or absence of lands.
Drug education is aggressively undertaken and takes centerfold, together with adolescent reproductive health education and intensified nutrition education in the campaign of the department to focus more on the provision and strengthening of health and nutrition education and in keeping up with current societal issues learners face. Guidance counselors are capacitated to help address mental health issues and concerns of learners and also of DepEd personnel. There is enough Guidance Counsellors in all schools following the standard counsellor:student ratio.
DepEd has strengthened its partnership with all health and nutrition stakeholders. It takes the DOH and LGUs to their tasks of delivering health and nutrition services to school children. It collaborates and mobilizes partners from the health and nutrition sector for better and wider coverage of health and nutrition services delivery at the public school level. It employs the use of telemedicine system at the public school clinics to maximize the participation of doctors and specialists from various medical centers, hospitals, clinics and organizations, not just nearby or in the same area, but nationwide and worldwide as well.
DepEd constantly monitors the public school learners inoculated by the Dengvaxia vaccine through mobile applications developed with partners. The same mobile application is used to monitor the implementation of health education and services in all public schools.
INTERNALIZED FILIPINO VALUES
DepEd’s youth formation focuses on the discussion and instilling of DepEd’s Core Values (Maka-Diyos, Makabansa, Makatao, Makakalikasan), which also happen to be the national slogans and traits of the Filipino. The DepEd Core Values serve as the foundation of special programs and activities in youth formation that aim to better prepare learners to face various societal issues in the modern world. Learners are guided throughout their education by these values which they carry on into their adulthood, their careers, and their life.
Youth Coordinators, Career Guidance Counselors and Advocates, and Teacher Advisers are trained to be facilitators, presenters, and models of the core values. Trainings are cascaded to officers of the Supreme Student Government (SSG), Supreme Pupil Government (SPG), Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O), Peer Counselors, and other student organizations. Officers of SSGs and SPGs, as well as other student clubs, are elected every February thru the DepEd Automated Election System (DAES) specially designed and programmed for such using all available computers in the school.
Youth Coordinators and Teacher Advisers lead in the conduct of Leadership Development and Student Assemblies under the framework of the Nation of Heroes which Negros Island has pioneered.
Youth formation includes studies on Filipino Heroes, both national and local, the revival of Filipino ancient writing Baybayin, music, dance and culture, like Rondalla, Drum and Bugle Corps, etc. to further strengthen the spirit of nationalism and patriotism in the youth through the arts and culture.
The School in a Garden (SIGA) Program is revived. Colorful flowering endemic or native trees and plants are planted and grown in public school premises, particularly along the perimeter and pathways. The popular cherry blossoms of Japan have found competition with the SIGA blossoms in every school, opening the learners’ and the community’s eyes to the beauty of the Philippines’ own flora. Heritage Trees in every public school have been identified, marked and protected.
Youth formation is also seen in the Palarong Pambansa where student athletes meet, learn from, and play with national and local sports champions. Billeting quarters and regional camps are visited by sports champions in reunion-like festivities. Life-changing encounters between learners, coaches, teachers, and even parents are experienced during the Sports Heroes Day (Araw ng mga Bayaning Manlalarong Pilipino). Youth formation is also institutionalized in international student exchange, and student employment and internship programs.
STRENGTHENED ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT
DepEd organizations under the Administration Strands are organized and actively participating in governance, crafting policies, as well as in the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of various programs.
Regular Exhibits held on a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly period are undertaken at the Central Office lobby and corridors to provide the public and the employees with information about the work, events, and programs of the DepEd offices, personnel, and its partners.
Deployment, receiving, and the inventory of equipment, supplies and other items are properly recorded and monitored using the DepEd Mobile App and other systems for transparency and accountability. A DepEd Monitoring and Evaluation (DME) Program and System is in place and institutionalized with the active participation of public school Property Custodians and Supply Officers. As such, all DepEd projects and deliveries are monitored and evaluated with updates that can be determined at any given time.
Records are digitalized and safely kept, documents and correspondences are tracked and monitored to avoid delays, communications to and from the central office to the schools and in various levels are made with quick dispatch as they are automated as a matter of good governance.
Cash disbursement employs the use of cards, avoiding the use of so much paper and bulky cash or monetary bills.
General Services at different offices and schools are outsourced to provide more efficient delivery of services and to take away from DepEd functions that are not its core competence. A number of DepEd vehicle services are outsourced, if not properly maintained. Maintenance of other equipment, like computers, printers, solar panels, electrical wirings, etc. are likewise outsourced in the same manner as photocopying machines are outsourced.
Program and project coordinators and implementers enjoy all needed support such as the provision of vehicles, laptops, printers, LCD displays, drones, etc. and are well covered (insured and with health coverage), and enjoying the benefits of job security (plantilla items).
External partners are tapped in the monitoring and evaluation of DepEd programs and projects. They are made to play integral parts of all the initiatives of the department, giving meaning to the maxim that education is a business of all stakeholders.
DepEd has a Situation Room (DSR), equipped with state of the art technology, to monitor major activities and events, including hazards or calamities, and to provide real-time data and information and crisis support, to maintain command and control of DepEd offices nationwide.
The large chunk of public funds earmarked for implementation by DepEd to address quality and access to basic education no longer burdens the department’s financial management policies, processes and systems. DepEd fully and efficiently utilizes its budget, and demonstrates strong capability to deliver desired results.
The DepEd has provided a platform for procurement systems improvement that increases DepEd’s capacity to deliver programs and operations. Holistic enhancements in the area of procurement operations have been in place, thus improving financial decision-making processes, evidence-based resource allocations, mechanisms for efficient budget utilization and compliance with statutory and other legal requirements, ensuring full and efficient utilization of budgets and timely delivery of goods and services.
Difficulties and challenges experienced in discharging procurement responsibilities, either human, organizational, physical and environmental, are adequately addressed. The effects of these difficulties and challenges are either mitigated or eliminated with the use of deliberate, logical and structured approach and methodologies.
Complicated, convoluted, and time-consuming processes and systems that are usually characterized as policy and operational bottlenecks in the delivery of services are a thing of the past.
A “center-led, center-guided” and “cradle-to-grave” procurement management approach is practiced.
The “center-led, center-guided” procurement management system combines the advantages and benefits of both centralized and decentralized procurement structures. Through this model, the strategic aspect of procurement and sourcing is, as a rule, centralized, while tactical purchases are left to the lower units. It employs a category management structure that supports the roll out of directives to lower operational units. Here, the center requires more in the way of data and compliance from operational units, and leads key categories more directly.
On the other hand, a “cradle-to-grave” approach recognizes that procurement encompasses a wider range of supply activities than just plain purchasing. It involves planning, preparation and contracts administration, as well as warehousing and supply distribution. It recognizes that effective management and control of supply operations can be achieved only when the organization is analyzed and controlled as a total operating unit, a total system.
Procurement functions are rationalized and streamlined. Strengthened procurement organization necessarily involves expansion of functions, policy and strategies change. Both structural and strategy change brings about efficiency and predictability in governance and operations. The changes coincide with the models and concepts characterizing the legal and conceptual framework governing the program. Among the initiatives undertaken are the following:
- Institutionalization of procurement inventory and logistics functions, and the establishment of regional depots and warehouses;
- Institutionalization of inspection and acceptance mechanisms, and creation of dedicated and professionalized teams for that purpose;
- Institutionalization of DepEd-wide contract administration and contract performance monitoring mechanisms, and creating dedicated and professionalized teams for that purpose;
- Creation of help-desks units to support field procurement operations; and
- Creation of organic procurement units and of procurement positions in regional and division offices.
Competencies and capabilities of procurement personnel have greatly increased. The bedrock of an enhanced procurement program is the notion that procurement is a specialized and high-value function undertaken to safeguard financial resources and impacts on the efficient operation of DepEd.
Procurement is well-established and supported through genuine and sustainable professionalization efforts and programs. Procurement officials and personnel are also taught and guided under a structured and sustained mentoring and coaching program designed to specifically address policy and operational issues that are usually encountered in the procurement frontlines. The coaching and mentoring program complements the professionalization efforts, through which procurement personnel are guided on the use and application of the DepEd Procurement Policy and Operations Manual, Work Instructions, Accountability Structure and Standard Forms and Documents.
NEW TEACHERS CAMPS
DepEd undertakes the massive development of its properties beginning with the Baguio Teachers Camp in Baguio City. The properties in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, and in Nasuli, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Ecotech in Cebu, and Taguig are transformed into the Bagabag Teachers Camp, the Nasuli Teachers Camp, the Cebu Teachers Camp, and the Manila Teachers Camp which hosts the Teachers International Convention Center. Venues for the training of teachers and for conferences, assemblies and meetings are no longer difficult to procure as they are always made ready and available for DepEd use.
The Teachers Camps also house museums of Indigenous Peoples in their respective areas, Gabaldon and Heritage Schools, Filipino Heroes and Filipino identity, culture, and arts, and Philippine Public Education. On the other hand, the Teachers Camp in Clark specializes in disaster preparedness.
Teachers Training Centers in each Regional Office and Schools Division are developed. They ensure free, accessible, adequate, and conducive venues for seminars and conferences at the regional and division levels.
The Central Office and the Manila Teachers Camp which hosts the Teachers International Convention Center are located at Bonifacio Global City in Pasong Tamo Extension in front of the new Senate building, and near the new Supreme Court building, Villamor Air Base and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), and in their premises are the Philippine National Railway (PNR) and Subway Stations providing ease of mass public transport and more accessibility to teachers and trainees.
The DepEd Central Office in Pasig has expanded and all offices have been renovated to cater to the growing number of employees. Green and iconic buildings are constructed and the entire area serves as a model to all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide.
The Office of the President, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), annually proposes to Congress the funds the DepEd asks in order to undertake all its programs and projects. Congress legislates the funding requirement of the department and all support it needs in undertaking its mandate.
Official Development Assistance (ODAs) and Public Private Education Partnerships (PPEPs) are tapped to provide funding and support to programs and projects that are not covered by the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA). Foreign and local partners join forces in providing full support to the endeavors of the department.
REACHING OUT AND CLOSING THE GAPS
The Philippine Constitution emphasizes the right of all Filipinos to quality education. All DepEd programs and projects are directed to close the gap and remove the disparity between marginalized schools in the rural areas and schools in urban centers by reaching out and developing the Last Mile Schools, paving the way for all learners to gain easy access to quality education. The Last Mile Schools are essentially the public schools located at Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA). These schools are now at par with their urban and town center counterparts in terms of facilities, equipment, tools, materials, supplies, manpower and attention. The focus on Last Mile Schools includes building classrooms to address the minimum of 4 rooms standard policy for every school; replacement of makeshift and non-standard classrooms into standard ones; provisions of school furniture; installation of solar panels to energize unenergized schools; provisions of potable water (thru deep wells, rump pumps, filtration equipment, etc.), provisions of computers, textbooks, and other teaching and learning tools and materials, among others.
To complement the Last Mile Schools program, DepEd works with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the implementation of the Access Roads to All Learners (ARAL) or the prioritized construction of roads (and bridges) leading to the Last Mile Schools.
DepEd also establishes and constructs public schools in Last Mile Communities where the need for public schools are defined and prioritized, finally eradicating the challenge of accessibility to education for all Filipinos.
INCHING CLOSER TOWARDS THE FUTURE
DepEd is in the perfect situation to not just make public schools at par with the times, but also future-ready. Guided by its core values, Secretary Briones’ 10-point agenda, inputs from the field, and supported by an efficient manner of delivering its service, DepEd is ready to move towards the future.
These are just the aspirations of the Administration Strand. All other strands of the department have their own aspirations, visions and plans. Yet everybody is enjoined to pitch in their vision and aspirations. All of the offices under the OUA strand and all the DepEd offices, organizations, and personnel are encouraged to discuss these visions and dreams until their common aspirations have been merged into one, and everybody is moving towards one direction.
Only by working together can the Public Schools of the Future be made into a reality.
Message initially delivered by Undersecretary Alain Del B. Pascua at the National Consultation on Office of the Undersecretary of Administration (OUA) Program Implementation and Office Coordination on 7 November 2018, Makati City
Enhanced by contributions from Administrative Service (AS) Director Robert Agustin, Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) Director Abram Abanil, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) Director Roni Co, Bureau of Learner Support Service (BLSS) Director Jose Rizalino and Assistant Director Ella Naliponguit, School Health Division (SHD) Chief Marizon Cora Dumlao, Youth Formation Division (YFD) Chief Arnold Empleo, Education Facilities Division (EFD) Chief Annabelle Pangan, Baguio Teachers Camp Superintendent Diosdado Medina, Undersecretary for Finance – Budget, Performance and Monitoring Anne Sevilla, Delegates of the November 7-9, 2018 National Consultation, Consultants and Friends of OUA, and DepEd Organizations.
Submitted to the Basic Education Master Plan 2030 – Scoping Mission by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Institute for Education Planning, Institute for Lifelong Learning, and Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, in collaboration with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), on November 21, 2018, DepEd Central Office, Pasig City.
Submitted to Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, members of the Execom and Directors at the Central Office sometime in December 2018.
Further enhanced by Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Administration Salvador Malana III on January 14, 2019 with the addition of a section on Enhanced Procurement.
Comments and suggestions are welcomed. They may be inserted anywhere in the body of the message provided the changes are highlighted in yellow for easy identification. The proposals may be emailed at [email protected] and [email protected] for consolidation and consideration.