March 27, 2023

The growing number of schools in Benguet being certified of attaining levels 2 and 3 in School-Based Management (SBM) level of practice is certainly a major accomplishment in spite of the prolonged pandemic.

Through the collaboration of the Office of the Schools Division Superintendent (OSDS) with the School Governance Operation Division (SGOD) and the Curriculum Implementation Division (CID), the provision of technical assistance to schools on SBM matters has been intensified since early last year. As a result, more schools were able to come up with the documentary requirements qualifying them for assessment and validation and eventually being certified to have met the requirements for SBM level 2.

The Department of Education-Cordillera SBM task force has also certified at least eight Benguet schools this year from SBM level 2 to 3, adding more motivation for schools to continuously improve. Based on their mandates, the SDO SBM task force validates schools for SBM level 2 while the regional SBM task force assesses schools for level 3.

But in the course of attaining a higher level in SBM practice, schools are expected to have really institutionalized shared governance on their structures, mechanisms, and processes on school leadership, curriculum and learning delivery, accountability and continuous improvement, management of school resources, and improvement of learning outcomes.

As an offshoot of Republic Act 9155 or the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001, SBM aims to ensure the capacity of schools and learning centers to deliver quality basic education through shared governance and accountability among school heads, teachers, parents, the community and other stakeholders. Such being the case, strong collaboration among internal and external stakeholders with a strong sense of shared accountability and responsibility becomes the key to school-based decisions and basic education program implementation.

But why are voluminous documents presented during assessment? School heads and teachers spent overtime work just to prepare these documents, known as MOVs or means of verification. The stressful and time-consuming tasks of preparing a lot of documents turned off short-sighted observers and made them assume that SBM is about paper works. In fact, others gave informal feedback that supposed quality instructional time was sacrificed in favor of preparing these MOVs. If this is the case, SBM appears to be a hindrance rather than a solution for schools to fulfill their mandate. Of course, that is not the intention.

That is a misconception of SBM.
It is really a difficult task for a school to make documents out of events or undertakings that transpired a year or two years ago. But SBM does not compel schools to invent MOVs about previous events or accomplishments. Rather, SBM encourages schools to draw lessons from previous experiences which have bearings for continuous improvement.

While SBM assessment indeed entails a lot of documents, school internal and external stakeholders must understand the mechanisms and processes behind a particular document. Guided by the principle of shared responsibility and accountability, SBM is a practice; it is how stakeholders work together to lighten the burden. Once normalized as a part of the school culture, MOVs will normally be produced as regular parts of the collaborative work routine. So, if SBM is really being practiced there is no need to invent documents. Authentic documents are products of a perfected process and well-established practice.

The foregoing facts pose serious challenges for certified schools to live up to the expectations that they continuously practice SBM in providing quality basic education to all learners. Expect these schools that their SBM practice will translate to better learning outcomes or better access to quality basic education.
On the other hand, schools that are not yet certified shall be motivated to fully institutionalize SBM and subsequently be validated whether they are improving from beginning to maturing and even up to advancing level. After all, every school should yearn for continuous improvement. (MACARTHY B. MALANES)