What is Checkmyschool?
Started in 2011, Checkmyschool (CMS), a participatory monitoring initiative that aims to improve service delivery in public education by promoting social accountability and transparency was established as a joint initiative of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA—EAP) Foundation Inc. and the Department of Education (DepEd), the branch of government that is responsible for regulating and managing the Philippine system of basic education. CMS makes use of the ANSA—EAP's formula to exact social accountability through constructive engagement and citizen monitoring.
The CMS works closely with DepEd and other relevant government offices in the resolution of school issues by empowering citizens in engaging the government offices in dialogue and collaborative problem-solving. School communities are engaged in monitoring the services of the DepEd through data collection, data provision, and feedback and issue resolution. Digital media is also utilized for this end.
CMS works on a blended approach by combining digital media and community engagement. It has digital media composed of website, social media, and mobile technology, which allow people to share information and send feedback. Its community mobilization approach involves partnership building with different stakeholders such as the school stakeholders, local school board, the private sector, academe and government agencies.
CMS envisions public schools with quality services and better education performance, enabled by involved citizens, empowered communities, and a responsive government.
CMS was designed and implemented in the context of:
1) Decentralization in the public education system -- delegating responsibilities to the local level by empowering school administrators, and engaging school communities and involving them in decision-making and problem-solving processes.
2) Support of the government’s transparency and accountability initiatives -- following previous civil society efforts to provide third-party monitoring of government’s service delivery programs, like Textbook Count, Bayanihang Eskwela, and Bantay Eskwela.
Through improved delivery of school resources, CMS hopes to make sure that books and other learning materials in public schools are updated, services are delivered, and students enjoy their classes in a safe and conducive environment for learning. This is indicative of how public education is given importance in terms of budget allocation for the government.
CMS Vision, Mission and Core Values
CMS envisions public schools with quality services and better education performance enabled by involved citizens, empowered communities, and responsive government.
CMS helps schools improve education services in schools through monitoring, and constructive citizen-government engagement guided by the principles of social accountability and transparency, to become a leading, sustainable, and competent program that can be adapted globally.
CMS Core Values
We put premium in social accountability and transparency
- We act with integrity
- We work in collaboration and as a team
- We respect diversity
- We put others above ourselves
- We encourage innovation and creativity
- We do everything with love
Online and Offline Components
CMS operates through the combined use of online and offline components in promoting social accountability in improving the delivery of public education services. These components are described below:
The Checkmyschool.org website is an interactive map of basic public education information. It tells us about the condition of the services and facilities being provided to public schools.
The available information in the site include the school's budget, enrollment, teaching and non-teaching personel, furniture, textbooks, classrooms, toilet, achievement test rating, among others. The site allows users to provide information about their schools, send feedback,share comments, and post photos and videos thus, facilitating interaction between users
Social Networking Sites
Checkmyschool.org also uses social media such as facebook and twitter to provide information and allow feedback. And also Checkmyschool.org allows SMS feature to send feedback.
Checkmyschool.org's community mobilization approach organizes school stakeholders: parents, teachers, students and other community members to volunteer in monitoring, in updating and in responding to school issues.
It also links different civil society groups/non-government organizations, education institutions, private companies and other government agencies to engage and work together to help address community-identifies school issues.
Signed agreements with different groups that have a stake in public education has helped strengthen the demand for improved service delivery and facilitate resolution of school issues.
A. Provide Access to Education Information
CMS is able to make school information accessible to the public by uploading these online, through the website. Some of the information about the schools that are made available in the site include data on enrollment and population, teaching and non-teaching staff, facilities, instructional materials, computers, budget and school donations, and needs are collected and stored in a database that can be easily accessible by everyone. The collection of public school information can help in planning and policy making, as well as in determining the needs of the schools in a specific locality.
School information is collected through a community data-updating activity, where volunteers conduct school visits and gather data from the school's records on enrollment and population as well as in the performance indicators of the school. Actual counting of the school's facilities and resources such as classrooms, toilets, chairs, books, chalkboards, computers, and other services is done. Quality and quantity of these resources are noted and documented. Information on these services are reported through the CMS Community Updating Activity forms, summarized, sent, and reported to proper channels, following the CMS protocols.
B. Involve Citizens in Education Governance
CMS involves citizens in education of governance through by making them aware on the important processes and information affecting the availability of school resources. At the same time, citizens and governments unit are brought together toward collaborative problem solving activities that put premium on dialogue and collaboration. Citizens are made aware of how they can engage the government and other education stakeholders to help improve delivery of public education services, following the social accountability principle.
C. Provide a Venue for Citizen Voice
Citizens are given a venue for voice and participation in the delivery of public education services by engaging them in actual monitoring of public education services, such as the opportunity provided by the Community Updating Activity. This activity is a community-based activity where citizens see for themselves the school resources; and are asked to report and document school issues that need attention Some of the issues that usually surface from the community updating activity include shortage of classrooms; high pupil-to-student book ratio; insufficient number of toilets; to name a few.
These issues are discussed with the education stakeholders and with school officials during exit reports. Afterwhich, all school feedback in a particular area (municipality or city) are consolidated. Feedback and results of the data-updating are presented during the community problem solving session attended by representatives from the local DepEd office, local school board, donors, and citizen groups.
Outside of the Community Updating Activity, CMS provides a venue for concerned citizens and the school community to share about the state of their schools that need immediate attention, through the CMS website, social media for publicity, and SMS for areas with bad Internet connectivity. Practical school issues and concerns that merit immediate attention and are received from the CMS website are forwarded to authorities and other groups for action. Through the digital platform, CMS serves as a repository of school-related feedback that links easy access to information with citizens and groups working together to improve the delivery of public education services.
D. Help Solve School Issues
As a social accountability program, the issues received by CMS from the Website and SMS are first sent to the local and national offices of DepEd to facilitate collaborative problem-solving sessions. Issues are classified according to the type of service and the corresponding office of the DepED in charge of addressing them. CMS follows a three-strike rule, where issue reports are sent to DepEd once very two weeks, for a total of six weeks. In the event DepEd fails to respond to CMS's communication, or if they responded that they cannot accommodate the request for issue resolution, CMS taps the private sector, nongovernment organizations, academic institutions, and citizen groups in resolving identified issues.