BUKIDNON VIEWS PUBLIC SPHERE: School Governing Council: A Room for Improvement


School Governing Council: A Room for Improvement
by Deewai Rodriguez

Last year, Ayala Foundation launched an education initiative,
“Enabling Education Communities,” which is inspired by the principle
that “education is a community concern.” In Mindanao, EEC is actively
present in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon and Camiguin Province in
collaboration with the division offices of the Department of Education
and the Local Government Units (LGU) in the said areas.

After a thorough process which includes major activities like
Education Summit, Team Building and Visioning Workshop and Planning
Workshop, education stakeholders in both areas are presently working
on the implementation of plans identified during the Planning

A common direction for both areas is the recognition of the need to
mobilize the School Governing Council (SGC) in each school. As a first
step, a Module on School Governance has been co- written to serve as a
module for officers and members of the SGC.

The module will be piloted in the Training on School Governance on
February 10 to 11 and February 17 to 18 in Veranda, Casisang. The
training will involve school heads and school governing council (SGC)
chairpersons in Malaybalay City.

The consensus to focus on mobilizing the SGC is relevant because local
communities can collaborate to face together the education challenges
at the local level. Hence, education challenges are not solely the
concern of DepEd or the LGU alone.

What better way to encourage and sustain engagement than thru an
existing mechanism mandated by DepEd which is the School Governing

The purpose of SGC can be found in the DepEd Manual on SGC which is to
“provide a forum for parents, students, teachers, community
stakeholders and the school head to work together towards continuously
improving student learning outcomes.” SGC becomes a melting pot of a
variety of experiences and ideas but the focal point will always be
the improvement of student learning outcomes.

The School Governing Council determines the general policies of the
school on: student welfare, discipline and well-being; development and
Implementation of the School Improvement Plan (SIP); monitoring and
Evaluation of the SIP Implementation; reporting progress of SIP
Implementation to the Schools Division Superintendent and the
community and management of Council resources.

Policy-making is clearly an important process in improving student
learning outcomes. Policies can benefit from the myriad of experiences
and knowledge of other members of the community.

SGCs are also expected to “provide the opportunity and environment to
develop shared responsibility in the children’s learning and holistic
environment and encourage and facilitate effective community
stakeholder participation in school improvement process focused on
children’s learning and welfare.”

This concept of shared responsibility is anchored on the Governance of
Basic Education Act of 2001 which states that “volunteerism from among
all sectors shall be emphasized and encouraged to ensure sustainable
growth and development in education.”

Volunteerism should not begin and end with a mere invitation to a
meeting. To sustain commitment, there should be an avenue for
volunteers in schools to make meaningful contribution as influential
stakeholders and not just mere witnesses. This avenue can be found in
the SGC.

The Philippine Education for all (EFA) 2015 likewise affirms the value
of shared responsibility. “Every learning site shall create a network
of community-based groups to work together as influential champions
that support the attainment of EFA goals.”

Shared responsibility begins with an atmosphere of inclusivity which
is emphasized in the Philippine EFA “schools shall continue to harness
local resources and facilitate involvement of every sector of the
community in the school improvement process.”

The challenge is great. There is no need to enumerate the challenges
that confront our public schools. A quick visit to a nearby public
school will validate the magnanimity of the challenges.  Therefore,
the more passionate and determined workers there are, the better.

In the book “Schools that Work,” authors Allington and Cunningham
stressed that there is a need for extraordinary schools. These are
“schools that help children exceed their destiny – schools where all
children are successful, not just lucky children who find schooling

We need schools that develop in all children the knowledge, skills,
and attitudes that have historically been reserved for just a few

Faced with a gamut of constraints, the best direction for public
schools is to encourage more helping hands. The call is not only
directed to the parents of the students via the Parent Teacher
Association (PTA) but is extended to non-parents thru the SGC.

SGC has a great potential to become an effective and sustainable
instrument for instigating positive change in the schools. This
possibility bolsters the need to inspire and persuade active and
committed stakeholders from other members of the community where a
school is situated to become part of SGC.

There are two kinds of stakeholders being mentioned in the Manual on
SGC: internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. Internal
stakeholders are “students and student organizations; parents of
students/pupils and Parent associations and teachers, non-teaching and
teacher associations in schools.”

On the other hand, external stakeholders are “various government
agencies; non-government agencies; civic and social organizations;
alumni; retirees; professionals; basic sectors: business, fisherfolks,
farmers, indigenous people, cultural minority, others.”

Going thru the list of external stakeholders, one can visualize the
different experiences, varying resources and the distinct kinds of
energy that can come into fruition. One good example is the SGC Chair
of a secondary school in Camiguin Province who is a Norwegian

SGC has existed for quite some time but the challenge to popularize it
and to truly make it functional remains a challenge to be hurdled.
Some schools have effectively organized their respective SGCs while
some have yet to fully begin maximizing its potential. Like the
classrooms in most of our public schools, there are still many “rooms
for improvement” in the area of school governance. We can start making
improvements now. (Special to Bukidnon News)

(Bukidnon Views is the opinion section of Bukidnon News. Public Sphere
is the column for opinion contributors. Deewai Rodriguez is Senior
Development Associate at the Ayala Foundation, Inc.  React on this
piece via bukidnonews@gmail.com).


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