Thursday, August 1, 2013

Feature: Embracing social media

We've been talking about the power of information and communication technology (ICT). We have openly embraced it on a personal level through our mobile phones (yes these days, many among us with two or more), internet access and social media.

It is interesting to note a growing number of schools, districts and education groups embracing social media and using it as alternative to traditional medium of communication exchange. Take for example Bubonga Marantao NHS from Lanao Sur. Managed by teacher Al-Maidah Pangarungan Alonto, the BMNHS-NR (NR for Narrative Report), chronicles events in her school. I was invited recently and coinciding with Ramadhan, the first note was on their new school mosque, a place for spiritual development both for their students and teachers. Since then, they have used it to deposit copies of documents such as the ARMM Hymn; School Policies, Rules and Regulations and Code of Ethics for Professional; share photos of their school activities, such as their recent Nutrition Month celebration; a cute collage of school teachers headed by their school head Sinab D. Cabugatan-Montila; A Google map of their school location (which I think every school should do); revised schedule of classes for the duration of the Ramadhan; and a note on English review for the MSU System admission.

Then there is the District Online Communications (DOC) of Indanan South District of Sulu. Since the assumption to office of its district-in-charge Samoore Ladjahali, the schools and staff have been trying to outdo each other in showcasing their best. Perhaps he was invigorated by his immersion in the District Supervisor Leadership Training at SEAMEO-INNOTECH. The latest news coming out of this district is the rigodon of school heads. The principal of the main school Kerwin Asid was recently designated to head a bigger school in downtown Jolo. I like how district-in-charge Ladjahali view the change positively, "we don't consider his transfer as a loss, but as a gain for our district; he will be a model of the school leadership we've been practicing in our district; we are happy to see more from within our district spread out; his transfer deepens our commitment that we are on track and we are leading in realizing the DepEd reform initiatives at the district and school levels."

Through the DOC, information from the national, regional and division offices and reports from the schools are submitted in a speed of light. Wow! Schools spread out over tens of kilometers communicating through their DOC in seconds. It is efficiency in action!

Photos speak a thousand words. To see school heads with their newly-elected mayor talking about the Local School Board is something we wish every district should have done. In Indanan South, they walk their talk. I should not fail to mention their compliance on the EBEIS. A text message from the Division Planning Officer sums it all, "Congratulations your district submitted & validated 100% of EBEIS (BOSY) 2013-2014". Did I mention that this district has a blog too?

Then there is a program-based FB group, EHCP Tawi-Tawi. EHCP stands for Essential Health Care Program. In this FB group, are photos and notes about the health activities organized by schools and their nurses. There are info-photos about program details. There is Monitoring Team meeting of Barangay Chairwoman Tita Tutor Samsuya, PTCA President Amilhussin Jalillua, school nurse Ms. Katherine Isahac and Datu Halun Laboratory School Principal Ms. Shaiha A. Irahani. You can see how Principal Irahani was able to mobilize parents and community support to construct concrete, painted and tiled handwashing facility. You can see photos of smiling kids honing their toothbrushing and handwashing skills. Here we see how health concepts are influencing children's healthy lifestyle.

There are similar regional online groups, such as those watching over DepEd-ARMM such as the Reform ARMM Now (RAN) movement's DepEd-ARMM Watch and another one with similar name. There's the BSE Online for those coming from secondary schools. Even the Regional Academic Program Committee has it own FB group where discussions and instructions are taking place.

Finally, even senior officials have used social media to make connection with their constituencies. Led by the ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman, other officials like Executive Secretary Atty Laisa Alamia, Cabinet Secretary Norkhalilah Mabuay-Campong and ARMM BPI Executive Director Amir Mawallil and education officials like Regional Secretary Atty Jamar Kulayan, Assistant Secretary for Program Atty Maisara Dandamun-Latiph and Assistant Secretary Noor Saada have used their FB accounts to respond to queries, provide clarification, disseminate information and tickle their FB followers with reform ideas.

More than anything else, these are not required. They are there because people found positive use of social media and the internet; and they are out to harness them. For outsiders, ARMM maybe a conflict area. For DepEd-ARMM outsiders, nothing much is coming out. However, these examples prove something. Beyond the headlines and politics are ordinary workers dedicated to their craft, committed to make a difference, and going the extra mile to make meaning out of their work. Who said ARMM is lagging in the use of technology?

"Moral Governance"

English - "Good governance for a progressive and peaceful BARMM."

Sinama - "Hap pamarinta tudju BARMM na sambu maka salamat"

Bahasa Sug - "Dan mabuntul tudju pa BARMM masambu iban mahatul"

Meranaw - "Mathitu a kandatu sa BARMM ko katagompiya go kalilintad"


"Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE)"