The Department of Education (DepEd) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is now seeing brighter prospects in the common vision of the Hataman and Aquino leaderships to transform ARMM into a competitive geopolitical unit of the country---no longer a source of shame, neither a laboratory of “failed autonomy” nor a haven of in-existent academic elements.
The faster the clock clicks towards the New Year, the fonder we become to share the public the gains our department has achieved in Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 amid of mismanagement and malpractices that no less than the President blamed as causes of ARMM's becoming a “failed autonomy.”
In 2012, we have planted the “seed of reforms” that gradually got rid our rosters of teachers, students and schools of “ghosts;” improved the department's administrative and operational structures that translated to record fund savings; and inspired us more in the succeeding year to step up efforts in bringing our education sector to greater heights.
Our innovative initiatives steered by the Oversight Reform Team (ORT) focused on mending undesired elements and practices in our department, using quality data-based and organizational development strategies and enabling us to evolve from stagnation if not retrogression.
After the surgical reforms in 2012 that led to the mandatory retirement of a school division executive, the deletion from payrolls of dozens of non-existent or undesirable teachers and hundreds of students, the closure of some bogus schools, we embarked heavily in 2013 on improving the welfare of teaching personnel and our enrollees.
Around 40 new programs were launched to promote the welfare of the teachers and learners. The Buy-Out Loan Program with the Land Bank for instance saw a remarkable decrease of teachers' falling victims to usurious lenders and loan sharks.
The negotiation with the GSIS to pay the obligation of DepEd-ARMM for none-remittances that piled up to some P1.9-billion was started and has been rallied by the national leadership, which is brokering a settlement agreement we hope to enter into soon.
In this near-ending year, our enthusiasm grew in sustaining the momentum and gains in 2013, notably the plight of our teachers, whose instructional quality is imperative to the worth of their students. We envision seeing students and graduate in ARMM being competitive with counterparts in the outside.
We carry out the Teacher Induction Program (TIP) to strengthen teachers' commitment to service. TIP seeks to update teachers about DepEd programs, operations as well as their functions and duties vis-à-vis their being subjects of Civil Service standards and member-beneficiaries of the GSIS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG and PPSTA.
Complaints about long delays in salaries among our teachers are now thing of the past. We mended the process and are maintaining a prompt release of teachers' salaries by as early as second or third week of every month.
The Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (PEIR) of the World Bank for the department is seen to facilitate upgrading and development of DepEd-ARMM's processes and an Operation Manual is being finalized for immediate adoption.
Teachers and schools will be assessed through the enhanced and unified Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) system, a mechanism preventing overlaps and duplication within the different bureaus and units of the department. Regional officials continue to make surprise and random school visits and regularly hold regional management and policy conferences at the different divisions. This is to ensure that regional support radiates down the line to cause improved performance indicators of schools and divisions.
As a follow-up of the 2012's corrections on department data, we now push for biometric piloting of some schools in the ARMM to further validate its enrollees. For this year, around 70,000 learners from the ARMM were de-listed from DepEd's Basic Education Information System (BEIS) after due validation. Biometric reinforces BEIS in ascertaining the students' assigned Learner's Reference Number (LRN) to weed out double or ghost enrollees in the ARMM.
The accurate validation process led to the decrease of enrollees in 2013-2014 from 625,166 of 2012 to 602, 488, posing a variance of 22,678 or 3.63 %. Marawi City Division registered the highest decrease at 7,343, almost half of which (3,215) is in Grade 2 and a difference 2,083 is in Grade 3. The Planning Service has yet to conduct a second level of validation of these data. The increase of 1,703 has been registered in Lanao Sur 1-A. Enrolment in fourth year registered an increase by 1,569 region-wide.
In the Five-Year Trend of Enrolment in the public elementary and secondary schools in ARMM, there is already an indica on of the result of the data cleansing at the school level over the last three years. This might have some implica ons in the core educa on indicators such as participation, retention, cohort survival and completion rates among others. But as Bro. Armin Luistro, DepEd Secretary has indicated the “eﬀort of improving the quality of data in ARMM schools should continue.”
Alongside data quality improvement eﬀorts, we focus upgrading educa on quality in the region. With the NAT and RAMSE (Regional Assessment on Math and Science Educa on) results as performance indicators, it is now gran ng more support on programs and trainings to upgrade teachers' skills and competence not only in the pedagogy/methodology of teaching but also on content areas consistent with the K to 12 programs.
The 11 schools divisions in ARMM were already provided their Na onal Achievement Test (NAT) results for the 2 previous years. This reflects not only the division standing but also that of the schools actual ra ngs. It is now uncomplicated to identify schools that needed more support.
Our department also rallies relevant regional directions and thrusts, such as the prescriptions of Gov. Hataman under the ARMM HELPS (Health, Educa on, Livelihood, Peace and Synergy) program. It also deepens engagement with DepEd-Central Oﬃce for better coordination and institutional synergy. Last September, it has proposed the inclusion of Mutawassit (Arabic/Islamic studies Senior high School) as one of the streams for the Senior High School (K to 12) Program of DepEd—originally there are at least 3 streams (1) Academic, (2) Techvoc and (3) Arts and Sports.
For the secondary, a quota has been given to DepED-ARMM to identify new schools for the Special Program in the Arts, Integrated Schools, SPED (specific only for visual and hearing impaired) and STEP (Science and technology Engineering Program). A slight hike in the public secondary schools (2,165 or 1.33%) has been registered.
Consistent with ARMM Administrative Order No. 07 s. 2012 on transparency and accountability with effectiveness and efficiency, the DepED-ARMM issued Regional Order No. 46 last August 12 enforcing new guidelines for selection and promotion of secondary schools master teachers, head teachers and principals. The process promotes merit and fitness, taking into account that only the NQESH passers are considered for promo on to principal and school heads. Non-NQESH passers maybe promoted to such positions on a temporary status. Meetings of the Regional Selection and Promotion Board (RSPB) drew representatives of ORG-SPB and CSO in line with A.O No. 07.
As the lead agency on the constituency-building Education Cluster and Human Development, DepEd-ARMM engages its 22,000-strong personnel through its 11 divisions as well as its cluster members in identifying its Key Reform Areas (KRAs) to fulfill its commitment under the invigorated ARMM-HELPS Framework.
This report contains regular and special programs and projects of the department for the year 2013, namely: the ARMM-HELPS Convergence Implementation, DepEd-ARMM 100 Days Target, and Programs/Projects identified in the ARMM Convergence Strategic Plan, 2013-2015.
The K to 12 Program
Through the K to 12 Program, the Philippine education system can become more competitive among other countries around the world. The program which was just recently signed into law as RA 10533, or known as the the Basic Education Act of 2013, enhancing the Philippine Basic Education System by strengthening its curriculum and increasing the number of years for basic education, was introduced to the ARMM last year.
The transition of the K to 12 program to the ARMM almost coincided with the transitional period of the new ARMM leadership. Barely a month in office, the ORT of DepEd-ARMM especially the Assistant Secretary for Programs had to make a signicant amount of adjustments for the preparation and participation of teachers for the K-12 Teacher Training Program for Grades 1 and 7 (about 3,200 teachers) and Grades 2 and 8 (about 2,506 Grade 8 teachers only) consecutively. DepEd-ARMM Regional Trainers for secondary trained the 600 secondary teachers of MSU- Marawi
As added support for the K to 12 the Department Secretary asked for the review and inventory of the number of public school classrooms plus the adequate supply of classroom chairs, books, etc. under the department’s black and red categories to anticipate teacher, supply and infrastructure shortages that the K to 12 may require. A third party monitor was also organized by the Regional Governor to validate data. The K to 12 program is seen to help the ARMM learners to be be more literate, skilled, and competitive to be able to find jobs more easily and contribute to the region’s pride as well as its economy.
One of the changes in Basic Education Curriculum brought about by the new K-12 program is the introduction of Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) specifically in Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 to support the goal of ― Every Child A Reader and A Writer by Grade 1. MTB-MLE refers to ―first-language-first education that is, schooling which begins in the mother tongue and transitions to additional languages particularly Filipino and English.
Currently, there are twelve (12) major languages or lingua franca that shall be language of instruction. The major languages are a) Tagalog b) Kapampangan c) Pangasinense d) Iloko e) Bikol f) Cebuano g) Hiligaynon h) Waray i) Tausug j) Maguindanaoan k) Maranao; l) Chabacano.
In order to include Iranun, Mapun, Sinama, Sama Banguingui and Yakan, languages of other major tribes in the ARMM, DepEd-ARMM in partnership with Summer Institute for Linguistics– Philippines formulated writing system (orthography) for those four languages to be used in the implementation of MTB-MLE. Along with the orthography which was developed through a participatory orthography workshop, a spelling guide to help elementary grades teachers in production of instructional materials such as Big Books, small books, and primers was also developed. Just recently DepEd Central included Yakan as among the new seven languages to be officially used as medium of instruction for kindergarten and grade I to 3 pupils.
Senior High School (SHS)
The 2 years Senior High School is a specialized upper-secondary education consisting of a common Core Curriculum and Tracks. Eventually, School Year 2016-2017 will be a milestone for Philippine Basic Education where SHS will officially be implemented nationwide starting with Grade 11 in SY 2016-2017 and Grade 12 in SY 2017-2018. Along this line, DepED- Central started transitioning into a more strategic approach embarking on operational and budget planning for Fiscal Year 2015.
Pursuant to DepED-Central Unnumbered Memorandum dated July 18, 2013 signed by Usec Rizalino D. Rivera, DepED-ARMM issued Regional Memoranda No. 152 and 158 dated August 23 and August 30, 2013, respectively, which gave way for the conduct of the SHS Implementation Workshop exclusively for DepED-ARMM on September 6, 2013 held at Cecile's Pension House and Catering Services, Tumaga Porcentro, Zamboanga City. The workshop called for the attendance of SDSs, ASDSs, Division Supervisors of TLE/Voc Tech, Division Supervisors In-Charge of Private Schools, Division Academic Supervisors (either English, Math or Science), and Planning Officers of 10 Schools Divisions
Open High School Program (OHSP)
OHSP is a distance learning program for high school students who are unable to attend regular classes due to physical, economic and geographical limitations. Regular class schedules are hectic, thus OHSP is intended as an alternative to attending regular classes but is not designed to be beneficial to all students. Most students may still learn best by attending the regular formal secondary education.
OHSP in DepED-ARMM evolves from Project EASE (Education Alternative in Secondary Education) which was first piloted at Lamitan National High School in 2005, funded by USAID/ EQuALLS). It provides an opportunity for elementary school graduates, high school drop-outs and successful examinees of the Philippine Education Placement Test (PEPT) to complete secondary education in a purely distance learning mode which is basically using the modular approach. The two other approaches – Internet-Based and Blended Technology are available only in selected high schools in Baguio, Cebu and Davao. In DepED-ARMM implementing high schools of OHSP are the Lamitan National High School (LNHS) in Lamitan City Division which had 6 completers (2 males & 4 females) last March 26, 2013, Malabang National High School (MNHS) in Lanao Sur II Division and the Tawi-Tawi School of Arts and Trade (TTSAT) in Tawi-Tawi Division which had 26 completers (7 males and 19 females) last March 27, 2013.