Yearender: DepEd scores minor victories

Published by rudy Date posted on January 2, 2009

Secretary Jesli Lapus spearheaded the Department of Education’s thrust to improve the competency of public school students in English, Math and Science in 2008 and the training of school principals, regional directors, division superintendents and academic supervisors to turn them into good managers.

Last year, the DepEd also focused on solving shortages in teachers, classrooms, textbooks and school furniture.

Lapus tapped his alma mater, the Asian Institute of Management, to develop effective leadership and management skills among DepEd officials.

He aims to improve the quality of education in the more than 43,000 public schools nationwide despite financial constraints.

Lapus said thousands of school principals and hundreds of middle level managers must become highly-competent “crisis managers.”

“They say that we have an education crisis with all these problems of shortages in classrooms, textbooks, and teachers,” he said.

“Then we now have crisis managers and leaders among the rank-and-file to solve all these problems.”

Lapus said the DepEd, the government’s biggest bureaucracy, has a workforce of more than half a million employees comprised of thousands public school teachers, school principals, academic supervisors, division superintendents, regional directors, division and center directors, and other rank-and-file personnel.

“This, in turn, means that we have to make the entire bureaucracy active participants in the reforms we undertake,” he said.

“This means that we need to make managers out of every principal, every supervisor and superintendent, every administrator and director.”

The DepEd is bent on decentralization to pave the way for school-based management, he added.

Lapus said in 2008, the DepEd had completed manuals for managers on crucial administrative processes.

“For me, this is a major achievement,” he said.

The completed manuals are financial management, records management, property acquisition and risk management, he added.

Lapus said these tools had laid down the standard operating procedures to guide DepEd.

“It’s like a Bible,” he said. “It’s your black book.”

Lapus said the manuals are essential for big private corporations and leading government financial institutions.

“And the issuance of these manuals to the officers are backed up by the re-training we’re giving,” he said. “We’re training them on how to use the manuals.”

Lapus said the performance of public school students in assessment tests, particularly Grade 6 students in the National Achievement Test, have greatly improved in 2008.

In the 2008 NAT given to some 1.64 million graduating Grade 6 students, those from public schools posted improved performance.

The examinees garnered a mean percentage score of 64.81 percent, an improvement from the NAT 2007 MPS of 59.94 percent and 2006’s MPS of 54.66 percent.

Lapus noted the steady improvement in the scores.

“At least, we’re now moving in the right direction,” he said.

The 2008 NAT also showed a decline in the number of low performing schools or those that garnered a school MPS of 15 to 34 percent, which are classified within the “low mastery” level.

Only 319 schools fell within the low performing schools level, compared to last year, where 1,898 public elementary schools fell into the category.

In 2008, the DepEd also saw improvements in the rate of school-aged children attending school, at 84.84 percent in the elementary level and 61.91 percent for high school in school year 2007-08, showing an increase of 2 percent and 5.7 percent.

DepEd figures showed that the gross participation rates had increased from 99.87 percent and 79.5 percent for the elementary and secondary levels in school year 2006-07 to 102.03 percent and 81.40 percent for school year 2007-08.

Fewer students have dropped out from school for school year 2007-08, according to Lapus.

From the previous year’s 6.37 percent for elementary and 8.55 percent for secondary, the drop-out rate dropped to 5.99 percent and 7.45 percent, respectively for school year 2007-08.

In providing public schools with learning resources, such as textbooks, classrooms, teachers, principals and computers, DepEd also performed satisfactorily.

As of last October, DepEd had built 8,407 classrooms and repaired 12,000 classrooms destroyed by floods and heavy rains from typhoons in 2008.

From November to December, DepEd expects to complete another 6,210 classrooms before Dec. 31, which if accomplished would mean that DepEd would have built 14,617 new classrooms within 2008.

DepEd had also procured and took delivery of some 22.752 million copies of various elementary and high school textbooks in 2008, bringing the textbook to pupil ratio to 1:1 in 18 elementary and secondary subjects, namely Sibika or HEKASI from grades 1 to 6, Araling Panlipunan Years I to II, and English Grades 1-6 and Years I-IV.

In 2008, the DepEd had also provided 5,323 main high schools and their annex and extensions with computer packages in 2008, which fell short of their revised target of 6,393 high schools, including annexes and extensions, according to Lapus.

The DepEd’s original target is to provide computer packages to 4,769 main high schools, but this was increased to 6,393 when they decided to include the annex and extensions of the main high schools, he added. –Rainier Allan Ronda, Philippine Star

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