ACT 2: The Principals: The Good and Bad Eggs

The Proof of Concept (POC) initiative, with the Province of Iloilo as the lead actor in the devolution of basic education to LGUs, hit the ground running in three noble ACTs enabled by Synergeia’s kickstarter training workshops for the main performers- LSBs, principals and teachers. The core objectives of these workshops are to find out what issues and challenges do we face and what should be done to obtain our bottomline of having all Grade 3 students read during the School Year 2024-2025.

Like eggs in a tray, a dozen principals bravely took an introspective journey to examine what is right and wrong with how they are doing their business so that ultimately, they can rewire and reshape their roles and identity for the good of education.

These principals found in themselves the good eggs that are meant to be kept and the bad eggs that should be thrown away. 

The good eggs obviously pertain to the principals’ positive traits of being hardworking, competent, inspiring and transformational leaders.

On the other hand, the bad eggs point to their negative attributes which need to be changed so they can perform their roles better with a higher degree of integrity, transparency,  accountability and effective governance.

In particular, these principals found some of their strategies, approaches, and practices as misaligned with the best practices in cognitive, moral, and motivational leadership, planning and budgeting, research and teaching innovation, measurement of learning performance, community relationship-building, and capacity-building for teachers.

To better understand the reading crisis and what it takes to reverse it and have higher standards for learning and education, the principals while agreeing to reboot their roles and identity by leveraging on their strengths and improving their weaknesses, geared up for its HANDA strategy by:

H– olding the hands of teachers in elevating their capacities to teach reading, writing, and numeracy.

A- ctive involvement in the implementation and monitoring of the reading program to provide guidance and interventions (like already assigning outstanding teachers to Grade 1  pupils).

N– eed to engage with teachers and community stakeholders, including parents, for mentoring and coaching.

D– eveloping a culture of data collection, analysis and utilization for performance-based teaching strategies and approaches.

A-dhering to a back-to-basics discipline and approach for principals where teachers will be inspired and motivated to do their tasks.

As part of developing the Synergeia teacher training modules, the school principals also committed to provide short  stories, poems, and nursery rhymes whose provenance is Iloilo or Panay and stories of  Ilonggo heroes,  history, and culture.

The Resurgence of Iloilo Province in the Devolution of Education to LGUs (Part 1 -The Meeting of the Minds and Hearts)

Post 1: The Meeting of the Minds and Hearts

Do LGUs have the capacity to be responsible and accountable for the decentralization of education and improvement of delivery and performance of basic education?

Let us begin with Iloilo Province. The province was chosen as the pilot test site for implementing this Proof of Concept (POC) on the devolution of education to the LGUs from the Department of Education (DepEd) as the best strategy to raise the benchmarks, particularly in reading and comprehension, for Filipino children.

Specifically, the goal is for children in Grade 3 to read in English and Filipino well, for both word recognition and comprehension, by the end of 2024.

The POC will have three capacity-building components: a. Best practices in teaching reading; b. Reinvention of Local School Boards (LSBs); and c. Training of parents.

Armed with the support of the Office of Senator Angara, through the Education Commission 2 or EDCOM2, and a seed fund of Php 5.08 million earmarked in the General Appropriations Act of 2024, Synergeia led the first organizational and planning meeting in Iloilo City with eleven LGUs, regional officials of the DepED, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and members of the LSBs.

The meeting was very successful in the way the issues were openly expressed, a consensus was established on the rules of collaboration and roles of accountability and management and a solid commitment of all stakeholders involved was forged to ensure the success of this POC initiative.

What are the insights into the issues and challenges of education in the province of Iloilo that provide the POC’s framework for innovation success in an LGU?

Read this in the next post: Facing The Mirror in the Province of Iloilo