Two hundred twenty education supervisors and school heads from the eight divisions of Zamboanga Peninsula Region in Mindanao, Philippines attended the Enhanced Training for Supervisors on January 17-19, 2018 in Dipolog City. With the current change in Philippine education system through the implementation of K-12 Program and the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the training underscored the importance of advancing “Character and Creativity” not only in the curriculum, but also in changing the organizational culture in schools to effectively prepare students in the 21st Century.
The training, co-organized by Department of Education Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Office and Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Philippines, also emphasized on promoting moral and innovative leadership among education leaders to advance effective learning experience in schools.
“A good strategy to teach values education is through modeling and leading by example,” Mr. Vicente Jose Suarez II, an Education Program Supervisor from Dapitan City Division, shared to his co-delegates. “We really need to inculcate values education among our officials in the Department of Education and all learners,” he added.
Promoting Character, Creativity, and Leadership in 21st Century Schools
The educators were keen to listen as Dr. Tony Devine, international vice president for education of Global Peace Foundation, shared GPF’s global initiatives which are aligned to its focus areas in education: Character and Creativity; Smart Workforce and Readiness; and, Innovation and Science Hubs. Other important topics covered in the training include “Creating Peaceful Schools” and “Developing and Engaging Student Leaders” shared by Ms. Ann Montejo-Arevalo, program director for education, and Leonard Faustino, program director for youth, respectively.
Ms. Lilia E. Abello, a Chief Education Supervisor from Zamboanga del Norte Division, felt that “the training is relevant in transforming schools and improving school performance.”
Agreeing with her statement, Mr. Edwin Badeo, an Education Program Supervisor from Zamboanga City, mentioned that as an educator, he also believes that when the character of a person is developed, the skills and competence follow. “That’s why I really appreciate these topics,” he added.
After sharing their experiences and challenges in their respective districts and divisions, the educators also worked in groups to suggest effective strategies that can address several issues affecting Filipino learners such as bullying, teenage pregnancy, and substance abuse.
“To transform our school, we need to influence others in self-modelling, establish harmonious relationship, and radiate desirable character traits for learners to follow,” one of the school heads shared.
Advancing Peace in Zamboanga Peninsula by “Transforming Education”
For a long time, peace and order has been the top challenge in the region of Zamboanga Peninsula. Kidnappings, armed conflicts, and the strong presence of out-law groups has negatively affected the quality of education in the region throughout the years. In addition to the local efforts made by the government and the Regional Peace and Order Council, the educators also shared practical ways on how they can advance peace in their schools and communities. These strategies included school-based activities that emphasize interfaith cooperation among students and teachers and implementing strict policies on non-discrimination and anti-bullying.
Emphasizing on collaboration to achieve outcomes in “Transforming Education,” the training also gathered local community leaders, officers of Parent-Teacher Associations, student government presidents, local business representatives, and other stakeholders in Zamboanga Peninsula.
“This training is very timely because we discussed on character-building and values that need to be strengthened among our children, community leaders, and instructional leaders to advance peace,” Dr. Fely Ascabano, a Public Schools District Supervisor from Zambonga City, mentioned in her reflection. “Attaining global peace is the concern of everybody,” she concluded.
During the training, supervisors and school heads also committed to create “Better Care Task Force” in different organization levels across the Region. “Better Care Task Force” is composed of key representatives such as the Senior High School Coordinator of the Division, Education Supervisors, Guidance Counselors, Supreme Student Government Presidents, and School Principals who work with the Division Superintendent to formulate policy and plan for the year’s action.
The initiative is a good educational practice being implemented in the Central Visayas Region of the Department of Education, where GPF Philippines also co-organized a “Transformative Learning Experience” Workshop in November last year. “Better Care Task Force” aims to promote participative and inclusive management processes that will ensure effective and collaborative delivery of quality education in schools.
To measure its outcomes, pre-training and post-training surveys were conducted among the delegates of the three-day workshop for supervisors. The surveys revealed a significant increase on the understanding in the importance of advancing character and creativity in schools; there was also an increase on confidence among the delegates to impact positive change in their schools and organizations. Assuming the role of key facilitators and trainers, the supervisors are eager to organize division-wide, district-wide, and school-wide trainings to expand similar outcomes among educators and education stakeholders in more than 2,000 schools across Zamboanga Peninsula.