DR. GENIS Murallos, schools division superintendent of Southern Leyte, has expressed confidence on the “many significant progress” accomplished under his administration in its efforts to attain “quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating” basic education.
Murallos said they have started to make management and educational transformations with key stakeholders as partners.
The “significant progress” achieved during his second year in the Department of Education (DepEd)-Southern Leyte include the creation of at least nine schools and the 100 percent implementation of senior high school (SHS) programs in 42 secondary schools in the division.
At present, Southern Leyte has 296 elementary schools, 45 high schools, and 42 senior high schools.
Of the 296 elementary schools, five are integrated schools.
On Alternative Learning System (ALS), about 4,420 learners were enrolled in the ALS program in 2018.
Of this, 1,539 completers took the Accreditation and Equivalency Test (A & E) where 1,318 or 86 percent of these completers passed the test.
In 2019, approximately 5,275 were enrolled in the ALS program. Of this enrollment, 630 were sent to various livelihood skills training program where at least 17 skills were assessed by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
“We are proud to publicize that 397 or 63 percent of learners were able to get National Certificate II certification from Tesda. This year, we aim to capacitate another batch of ALS learners, with a target of 80 percent of the total enrollment this year,” he said.
Aside from making education accessible to all in the province, the division also raised the quality of education.
“We aim to provide the best for our learners,” Murallos said.
In 2016, Southern Leyte launched “Project Ugmad Southern Leyte.”
"Ugmad" stands for “Utukan ug Ginamhang Magtutudlo Atong Dasigon.”
Murallos said the banner project is a “fitting to explain our aspiration for quality and relevant education for learners.”
The project’s targets are to ensure that all school age children are in school and keep them there; minimize absenteeism; reduce school leaver rate both in elementary and secondary; reduce repetition and dropout in elementary and secondary schools; strengthen instructional supervision; and maximize intensive classroom supervision.
It also aims to increase mean percentage score of Grade 6 and Grade 10 National Achievement Test, decrease the number of wasted children, closely monitor division and school programs, and intensify the Division Research Program.
Murallos also reported on increasing trend to the division-initiated interventions like intensive technical assistance of the division office to schools through “Project Ugmad.”
According to Murallos, the different school banner projects are also contributory to the achievement.
Educational interventions, initiatives
Meanwhile, Murallos lauded the district-initiated intervention of Silago town through the computer-aided instructional materials being introduced by Ronald Cuevas, a teacher at Hingatungan National High School.
On governance, the official assured “shared leadership and responsive system of governance” in the division.
Aside from the repair and construction of classrooms, the division also implemented child-friendly learning environment for the students by putting up accessible, gender-appropriate toilets and hand-washing facilities and access to potable drinking water in the schools, along with various youth formation activities.
“The youth formation program provides youth serving units and organizations with responsive, youth-oriented policies, standards, projects to contribute to the holistic development of learners who are values-driven, career-oriented, culturally-rooted and socially responsible citizens,” he said.
“In 2018, we have strengthened the capacity of 372 student leaders and 341 teacher-advisers through leadership and teacher-adviser capacity building trainings,” added Murallos.
Other important programs implemented in the division are a school-based feeding program, which has served a total of 2,371 learners from July to December 2019; hiring of transparency standards and procedures; open ranking system; document tracking system; teacher’s welfare program and training.
As of June 2019, the division has sent 2,500 teachers to different capability building trainings; 350 school heads to school heads’ development programs; and 23 district supervisors and district-in-charge to trainings on technical assistance provision.
The division has also set up an induction of 100 newly qualified teaching and 115 non-teaching personnel; send-off program for 40 retirees; employee service loyalty award for 25 teaching and non-teaching employees for their 35 years and more; division pantry; “Project Pag-atiman” to promote the teachers’ well-being; free medical check-up for division office personnel; and “Project Pauli” or redeployment and transfer of 351 elementary teachers, 190 secondary teachers, and three senior high school teachers from May 2018 to June 2019.
To give voice to ordinary teachers, Murallos initiated the Classroom Teachers’ Federation to encourage “the active participation of teachers in educational planning and policy making.”
Aside from the redistricting schools, the official also made some physical improvements in the division office and affirmation of the awards and recognition received by the division.
“We are grateful for the affirmation of our leadership. The achievements we get affirm that we are pursuing the right goals and moving in the right direction. We would like to showcase the awards and recognition we earned in the previous year,” he said.
Some of the awards and recognition garnered by the division include 1st Place National Level Press Conference, News writing-Filipino, Elementary, Pong-oy Elementary School, San Juan District and Cleanest and Orderly Delegation, Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Evraa) 2019.
The division also published five big books as supplementary learning materials in the DepEd-Learning Resources portal. These are “Ang Anino,” “Ang Bida nga Itik,” “Ang Walis Tingting ni Aling Nating,” “Si Nita ug si Baki,” and “Ang mga Lapis ni Ini.
On partnerships and linkages, Murallos reported that Southern Leyte division hosted the 2019 Regional “Brigada Eskwela” kick-off in Limasawa Island last May.
The GMA-Kapuso Foundation Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan also donated bags and school supplies to more than 300 students in Limasawa District.
OSM Foundation turned over bags, art materials and sports equipment to the children of Kinachawa Elementary School, while the Macau Anglican College and Meg Star International Charity Association turned over computer desktops to Lagoma Elementary School, conducted feeding program in Salvacion Elementary School, and visited three other schools in Silago district.
On July 12, the division launched Sta. Cruz Elementary School of Malitbog District as “Lighthouse school,” which shall serve as learning hub for nearby schools to learn strategies and good practices on integrated implementation of gardening, nutrition education and supplementary feeding, said Murallos.
Other “solid” partners of the division include the Philippine Red Cross Southern Leyte Chapter, Southern Leyte State University, Tesda, and other government agencies.
Challenges and ways forward
For the new school year and onward, Murallos said the division is seeking for additional fund for the repair of classrooms; lobby for more teacher items for the newly-opened schools; fast-track the construction of remaining senior high school buildings; sustain the child-friendly climate of our schools; address the shortage of textbooks and equipment; continually enhance the capacity of our teachers; and take further measures to smooth out “Project Pauli.”
It also aims to manage drop-out rate and promote education for all, broaden partnerships and linkages, and continue the trend of good governance through transparency of all our transactions.
“The task before me is formidable but by working together in genuine partnership bonded by trust and shared vision, we can build a stronger, better, Southern Leyte. There is an impending transfer of assignments for all Schools Division Superintendents. Be that as it may, this is my commitment to Southern Leyte Division: I will remain your servant and fulfilling my duty to you is my highest and only reward,” said Murallos in his State of the Division Address recently.
“Our efforts may have been uneven, and we still have much work to do, but we have demonstrated our shared determination to work together to confront our common challenges,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)