3 Cebu LGUs get Seal of Good Education Governance

THREE municipalities from Cebu are among the 24 local government units (LGUs) recognized for their outstanding efforts in delivering basic education to their constituents.

The inaugural batch of recipients of the Synergeia Foundation's Seal of Good Education Governance will get incentive packages from PLDT and Smart Communications worth up to P1.5 million each.

The 24 LGUs are:

1. Alimodan, Iloilo
2. Argao, Cebu
3. Bacnotan, La Union
4. Balamban, Cebu
5. Bongao, Tawi-Tawi
6. Cabatuan, Iloilo
7. Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental
8. Concepcion, Iloilo
9. Dalaguete, Cebu
10. Dao, Capiz
11. Datu Paglas, Maguindanao
12. Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya
13. Diffun, Quirino
14. Ivisan, Capiz
15. Lambunao, Iloilo
16. Miagao, Iloilo
17. Mina, Iloilo
18. North Upi, Maguindanao
19. Santol, La Union
20. Simunul, Tawi-Tawi
21. Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
22. Valenzuela, Metro Manila
23. Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya
24. Tuba, Benguet

Established in 2002, Synergeia is a coalition of individuals and organizations working closely with about 400 LGUs to improve the delivery of basic education to Filipino children.

The foundation intends to award the Seal of Good Education Governance to deserving LGUs every year. It received 250 LGU nominations through its website this year.

Criteria for judging

Determining the list of seal recipients was a board of judges composed of representatives from Synergeia and the Department of Education. To receive the seal, LGUs must have broadened the membership and functions of their local school board. Most of their schools should have functional School Governing Councils.

As an indicator of performance, the average National Achievement Test score of elementary school children must be higher than the national average of 66 percent, or must have increased by at least two percentage points. Alternatively, the LGUs must have reduced the number of poor readers by at least 15 percent.

Moreover, their cohort survival rate (the percentage of first graders who go on to complete sixth grade) must be higher than the national average of 70 percent, or must have increased by at least two percentage points.

Finally, the LGUs must have recorded a decrease in non-readers and frustrated readers by at least 15 percentage points.

"We put together an education governance scorecard to focus on the results of their work. While anecdotes and feel-good stories about education initiatives are helpful, the scorecard enables us to objectively evaluate the performance of LGUs," said Synergeia chief executive officer Milwida Guevara.

"We are happy to recognize these outstanding LGUs, and hope that the Seal of Good Education Governance would inspire them to keep making children's education a priority in their governance agenda," she added.

Incentives for seal recipients

To boost the capability of seal recipients to improve education in their localities, PLDT and Smart will provide technology packages suited to the LGUs' respective circumstances and needs.

Among the incentives are the installation and maintenance of Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas, and the provision of InfoCast, a web-based solution that will allow the LGUs to broadcast announcements and receive feedback via text message.

LGUs in remote areas will get a satellite-based communication solution that provides voice and SMS services.

Another incentive for LGUs in far-flung areas is the Smart School-in-a-Bag, which contains a solar panel to serve schools without electricity, mobile devices, curriculum-based educational content, teacher training, monitoring, and evaluation.

Also included in the incentive package are personal development trainings for LGUs.

"We strongly support Synergeia's efforts to encourage local governments to efficiently and effectively deliver basic education to Filipino children. Through the technology tools and digital educational content included in the incentive packages, these LGUs can further enhance learning among their young constituents," said PLDT and Smart chief revenue officer Eric Alberto.

"The PLDT Group will continue to work hand-in-hand with organizations like Synergeia and local governments to achieve our goal of building a smart nation," he added. (PR)

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