May 3rd, 2017 marked the day Synergeia, in partnership with SMART/PLDT, launched the Seal of Good Education Governance, which is awarded to outstanding Local Government Units (LGUs) which have measured up in terms of leadership in the implementation and funding of education programs through their Local School Boards (LSBs).
The Seal highlights the importance of: 1) the use of metrics in measuring performance; 2) transparency as it empowers communities; 3) accountability for performance of both local government and school officials; 4) incentive for communities that make education work; and 5) setting benchmark for excellence in education governance.Winning LGUs each received technology incentive packages worth up to P1.5 million from SMART/PLDT.
On September 29, 2017, during Synergeia’s 11th National Education Summit, a total of 24 LGUs from across the nation were awarded the seal for their upstanding commitment to education within their communities. From Luzon, there were eight awardees: Valenzuela City (NCR), Bacnotan (La Union), Santol (La Union), Tuba (Benguet), Solano (Nueva Vizcaya), Villaverde (Nueva Vizcaya), Diadi (Nueva Vizcaya), and Diffun (Quirino). Synergeia’s partner LGUs in Visayas earned the most awards with 11 awardees: Balamban (Cebu), Dalaguete (Cebu), Argao (Cebu), Ivisan (Capiz), Dao (Capiz), Lambunao (Iloilo), Cabatuan (Iloilo), Miagao (Iloilo), Alimodian (Iloilo), Concepcion (Iloilo), and Mina (Iloilo). In Mindanao, five LGUs received the seal: Cagayan de Oro (Misamis Oriental), Bongao (Tawi-Tawi), Simunul (Tawi-Tawi), Upi (Maguindanao), and Datu Paglas (Maguindanao).
All these LGUs have significantly increased their Cohort Survival Rate, NAT scores, while also lowering numbers of frustrated readers or nonreaders. Santol, Diffun, Tuba, Ivisan, and Dalaguete are among the municipalities whose Cohort Survival Rate increased significantly with Santol’s (52% to 81%) and Dalaguete’s (73% to 103%) scores having a 29% and 30% change respectively. As for NAT scores, Villaverde currently holds the highest NAT score with an average of 89.61 points as of 2017, coming from 77.98 points in SY 2014.
Each municipality had its own story to share and its best practices that led them to garner this award. For example, the mayor of Bacnotan in La Union is credited as reading mayor who prioritizes literacy and has placed literacy at the forefront of their advocacies. Among the initiatives taken are a mobile library/reading caravan that visits the different areas of the municipality on weekends. LGUs such as Simunul, Alimodian, and Concepcion are unique in that they must also overcome the physical obstacles that could hinder their education. Despite how remote these places are, their LGUs still succeed giving quality education to their students. For many other municipalities, the simple act of being a more hands-on local chief executive can do wonders for the morale of a community.
The winners were all smiles at the event after having seen how their hard work in the field of education was recognized and afterward many of our partner municipalities said that they would aim for higher goals.