THE Synergeia Foundation, in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications, and the Department of Education, will give recognition to local government units (LGUs) that have exerted outstanding efforts to deliver basic education to their constituents.
“We are happy to launch this program to recognize those local government units that have been committed and most dynamic in this advocacy of education,” Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” Villarin, SJ, Synergeia Foundation chairman and president of Ateneo de Manila University, said in his speech during the launching in Makati City on Wednesday.
A board of judges comprised of representatives from Synergeia, PLDT, Smart, and the Education department will evaluate “how nominated local government units have reinvented their local school boards and governing councils.” Judges will also check how the local government units have involved their communities in enabling all children to go to school.
“Each local government unit have a local school board but, unfortunately, not all local government units are supporting its local school board, so we’ve tried to ignite or at least spark the activity in that regard. This may seems like structure but there are really ways to engage the whole community of the education of the students,” Villarin said.
The locality must also have a high cohort survival rate (grade one students must finish at least grade six) and a steadily improving performance in the national achievement test. The Special Education Fund must also be used on activities that promote learning.
“We’re also looking at some score cards measures like looking at expenditures if the local government units truly committed then it should be reflected in the budget itself. So we will look at those metrics as well to gauge whether the local government unit has deserved that seal of governance,” Villarin explained.
Jovy Hernandez, PLDT senior vice president and head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Groups, said each recipient of the Seal of Good Education Governance will receive incentive packages from PLDT and Smart Communications worth up to P1.5 million.
“In our many years of working on the ground, we have dealt a lot of local government officials with unwavering passion of helping Filipino youth. These exemplary local government units deserve to be recognized, rewarded and emulated. We seek to further empower this outstanding lgus by providing incentive packages that fit their respective needs,” Hernandez said.
Among the possible 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 local government units to broadcast announcements and receive feedback via text message.
For local government units in remote areas, there is the option to provide a satellite-based communication solution that provides voice, SMS, and data services or the Smart School-in-a-Bag, which contains a solar panel to serve schools without electricity, devices, curriculum-based educational content, teacher training, monitoring, and evaluation.
“More than being a reward, these incentive packages are meant to encourage local government units to explore the many ways of technologies which can be sued for the development like never before,” Hernandez said.
The submission of entries will start on May 8, Monday, and will end in June. The winners will be known in September.
Established in 2002, Synergeia is a coalition of individuals and organizations working closely with about 400 local government units to help improve the delivery of basic education to children. The foundation intends to award the Seal to deserving local government units every year.