In the early 2000s, the Department of Education (DepEd) through the Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP) and Secondary Education Development Improvement Project (SEDIP), introduced school-based management (SBM) reforms. Through SBM, schools are empowered to manage and appropriately respond to learning needs and issues in their respective communities.
The School-Based Management System (SBM) addresses improvements in the learning outcomes through effective schools. School heads were trained on leadership and stakeholder management, school planning and M&E, resource mobilization, and school project management.
Succeeding DepEd reforms and initiatives helped improve school-level planning, resource generation, and networking with community stakeholders and improved school resources management.
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Current School Improvement Plan (SIP) preparation practices involve students, parents, local communities, barangay LGUs (BLGUs), school heads, and teachers. The participatory approach to planning improved community ownership and school plans, including stakeholders’ support for school initiatives and projects. While participation and support for school projects increased, school initiatives in the SIPs focused more on improving school infrastructure than on children’s learning needs.
School Improvement Plan (SIP) highlights classroom repairs, beautifying school grounds, securing school perimeter fences, and improving school operations. While these are important, this should be balanced by addressing learning needs such as reading requirements of slow learners, special learning needs of learners with a disability, and academic issues in English, science, and math.
The quality of the School Improvement Plans (SIPs) can be improved by making them more child-centered, rights-based, and quality-focused plans. More qualitative discussion on the learning needs of different learner segments to supplement the school report card’s quantitative information. The SIP should be an education plan supplemented by a development plan.
Increasing Funding Versus Learning Outcomes
SBM had a positive impact on school operations. A vital aspect of these reforms’ success has been the provision of ever-increasing levels of operational funding to the school level coupled with the devolution to schools of greater autonomy over these funds.
DepEd jumpstarted the process of school-level management of financial resources through SBM grants introduced in TEEP and SEDIP. In 2008, the SBM grant was extended by DepEd to all elementary and secondary schools.
By 2020, the budget allotted and managed by school principals has reached PhP27.8 billion, or five percent of DepEd’s total budget. The increased funding enabled schools to implement school-initiated programs and projects in their SIPs of all public schools nationwide.
However, increasing access to financial resources is not matched by improvements in school outcomes. There may be a need to review the schools’ focus and quality of programs and projects. An appraisal process reviewing the quality and feasibility of proposals may need to be established to ensure additional resources address learning outcomes issues.
The SDOs, through Schools Governance Operations Division (SGOD), may need to improve their process of tracking the efficiency of schools to deliver these programs and projects and evaluate the same for effectiveness.
Figure 1: School MOOE totals, 2016-2020
Evaluation of School-Based Management System (SBM) Practices
Schools’ SBM practices are rated and documented using the SBM Assessment Process and Tool (APAT). The assessment serves as a platform for reviewing and documenting schools’ practices using contextualized tools to rate and validate practices on leadership and governance, curriculum and learning, accountability and continuous improvements, and resource management.
Using a composite scoring process, schools’ SBM levels of practice are classified into:
- Level 1 – resources the preliminary stage of implementation,
- Level 2 – planned practices and procedures are fully implemented, and
- Level 3 – practices and procedures satisfy quality standards.
The assessment uses a two-stage weighted process for determining the level of practice. The first involves a 60% score using the performance indicators, and the second, 40% from the results of the self-validated assessment.
DepEd needs to review the performance indicators used to demonstrate school performance improvement. Schools are assessed using the following indicators:
- Access – Net Enrolment Rate (NER) and Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER),
- Efficiency – Cohort Survival Rate (CSR), Completion Rate (CR), school leaver rate, dropout rate, transition rate, and
- Quality – NAT Grade 6, NAT G10.
Most access and efficiency indicators except school leaver, dropout, and transition rates are not officially computed at the school level. Net Enrolment Rate (NER) and Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) require an estimate of population per geographical area. NER and GER’s use will be problematic for the school to determine as a school does not represent a geographical area and a school’s coverage overlaps with other schools. On efficiency, it is complicated, if not impossible, for the school to determine its Cohort Survival Rate (CSR) and Completion Rate (CR).
The primary intent of SBM is to ensure learning outcomes. However, using NAT as the basis for schools’ achievement is no longer feasible. NAT Grade 6 and NAT Grade 10 are administered to randomly selected sample schools. Furthermore, the process of requiring producing too many means of verification (MOVs) to justify a practice may be counterproductive. MOVs should be reduced to a few, using the most essential and authoritative MOV per indicator. Indicators should be verifiable and consider the context of basic education per region.
Documentation of schools’ practices on SBM will provide essential inputs to formulating sustainable and context-specific technical support for all schools. The SBM assessment results provide grassroots-level feedback to SDOs about schools’ performance and their practices. The strategy needs to be revisited and enhanced.
Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA)