By Alexander Villafania
PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) is working with several civil society groups, headed by the Ateneo School of Government’s G-Watch program, in an effort to monitor the quality of textbooks in public schools.
The initiative also intends to improve the delivery of textbooks to the right recipients.
Initiated in 2003, the partnership forms the National Textbook Delivery Program or Textbook Count which oversees the distribution of books to recipient schools.
The partnership also includes a new program called Textbook Walk, which is a synchronized activity between schools and community volunteers wherein textbooks will be delivered to remote recipient districts.
DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said the goal is to have a 100 percent delivery of the right learning materials in good, physical quality in accordance to DepEd guidelines. Part of the program is a feedback mechanism wherein recipient schools, parents and students could report to the DepEd regarding problems in the delivery.
“If we want to improve the quality of education, if we want transparency and accountability, this is a good chance for all education stakeholders to share their time, effort and resources so that issues concerning textbooks are addressed in a systematic and comprehensive manner,” Luistro said.
The Textbook Count already has at least 40 civil society partners, which also include the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE NGO), Transparency and Accountability Network, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and the Ateneo de Manila project CheckMySchool.org.
It was also cited by the World Bank as a successful practice in good governance.
G-Watch Director Joy Aceron said one of their long-term goals is to sustain participation of civil society and to establish a process of accountability and transparency. The group is also planning to craft a working policy that supports decentralized monitoring from schools.
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