Maribojoc to Reinvent Local School Board

Mayor Leoncio B. Evasco, Jr. announced last Tuesday that there is a prevailing need to reinvent the composition and function of the town’s Local School Board (LSB). He lamented, “There is a big difference with the current quality of education compared to the kind of education I was fortunate to undergo years ago.”

Evasco cited the present economic crisis each Filipino family faces as the main cause why education in public schools has deteriorated. “Government has to invest in Education for our youth to succeed. Whatever resources our local government has, we will use it to improve the quality of education in Maribojoc.”

Evasco, who presented the town’s state of education, gave this assurance to some 182 local stakeholders who attended the first Maribojoc Education Summit held at the Dr. Abundio Echavez Memorial Sports and Cultural Center.

According to him, “The local government and all sectors in the community have to get involve and take a significant role in providing better education in our public schools. We cannot let the Department of Education (DepEd) handle this problem alone. Let us stop finger pointing and do something about it.”

The summit’s keynote speaker and former Negros Occidental Governor Rafael ‘Lito’ Coscolluela shared Synergeia’s experience in how a coalition of individuals and institutions continuous to work together with communities in improving the quality of basic education in the country. Coscolluela is one of the board of trustees of Synergeia Foundation, Inc. and the current chair and managing director of Eskwelahan sang Katawhan (Folkschool of Negros Occidental).

Coscolluela commented on how the country’s state of education is a rude awakening to all of us with its statistics and their implications. He informed the plenary that educational reforms have already started in 168 Synergeia-partner cities and municipalities nationwide embracing 1.3 million children.

He narrated how then Naga Mayor Jesse Robredo, now DILG secretary, reinvented the LSB in his municipality. Robredo focused on results rather than inputs and in making officials accountable for decisions and resources spent. Coscolluela said, “Through the education governance reform, the process of delivering basic education becomes collaborative, community-based, transparent and accountable.”

Under the Local Government Code of 1991, the municipal school board is composed of the municipal mayor and the district supervisor of schools as co-chairmen; the chairman of the education committee of the Sangguniang bayan, the municipal treasurer, the representative of the pederasyon ng mga sangguniang kabataan in the sangguniang bayan, the duly elected president of the municipal federation of parents-teachers associations, the duly elected representative of the teachers’ organizations in the municipality, and the duly elected representative of the non-academic personnel of public schools in the city, as members.

Workshop sessions were conducted later in the afternoon wherein summit participants, composed of DepEd school officials and teachers, retired teachers, barangay and municipal officials and PTA presidents, were clustered into five working groups.

They answered these focus questions: What do we want our children in Public Schools to become? What are our dreams for our Children? What can we do together to make these dreams come true? What factors hinder these dreams from coming true? What can our Local School Board do to make our children perform better in school and have greater access to quality education?

DepEd’s schools division superintendent Dr. Lorna E. Rances also attended the summit together with Mr. Archie Lungay and Dr. Cerina Bolos who represented Cong. Rene Relampagos and Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, respectively. The municipal government and Synergeia Foundation, Inc. sponsored the whole-day affair in cooperation with the DepEd Maribojoc District.

Vice Mayor Fructuoso F. Redulla, Jr. gave the welcome address, Synergeia program director Dr. Caridad T. Tharan gave the statement of purpose and the activity goal, while SB committee on education chair Florante B. Evasco introduced the keynote speaker. Maribojoc Central Elementary School principal Milueda P. Escabarte was the morning session’s host while MPDC Engr. Maria Nenita R. Chiu facilitated the afternoon workshop.

After Dr. Tharan’s synthesis of the workshop results, Mayor Evasco reiterated the importance of the formulation and completion of the three development plans whose primary focus will be the teachers, the schools and most importantly, the students.