The Community Exercising Bayanihan Spirit or the Government Unduly Transferring the Burden of Funding Educational Support to the Community
Background of the Study
Brigada Eskwela is a national program developed by the Department of Education as an activity in support of the opening of classes in June. The program seeks to encourage parents, teachers and other members of the local community to volunteer material and non-material resources and services in cleaning classrooms and school premises including doing minor repairs on desks, walls and other parts of the classroom to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning. The program was launched in 2003 in an effort to ensure that public school students continue to have classrooms and a school environment to gain primary and secondary education. (, 2007)
The concept of Brigada Eskwela is based on the bayanihan spirit innate to Filipinos. Bayanihan involves the voluntary effort of members of the community to help co-members of that same community in need (, 2006). Traditionally, bayanihan became important in relocating families that involved moving an entire house. Over time, this concept took the form of other areas of community cooperation such as in maintaining peace and order and cleanliness in the community. In the case of Brigada Eskwela, bayanihan meant that volunteers bring their own tools and materials needed in cleaning the school and making tools and materials, this is dependent on their freewill and capability.repairs. This concerted effort did not involve budget allocation on the part of the Department of Education. (, 2007) Although volunteers may have to spend for
According to the (2007), the number of schools benefited by the national maintenance program for schools has been increasing from its inception in 2003 until 2006 from 12,533 schools in 2003 to 16,086 schools in 2004, 26,000 schools in 2005 and 30,750 schools in 2006. The monetary value of labor and materials contributed has dramatically increased. In comparing values of contributions in 2003, 2004 and 2005, the Department of Education reported that this almost double in 2004 from P392.26 million in 2003 to P717.1 million in 2004 and further increased in 2005 to P1 billion. Although, there are no values for 2006 and the current school year, the Department of Education is optimistic that the program from the community would receive greater support. Relative to the goal of the program, Brigada Eskwela may be considered a success. However, the program is not without issues raised by various sectors of society.
On one hand, Brigada Eskwela is a commendable program reflecting the persisting bayanihan spirit of Filipinos. Amidst the era of materialism and individualism, this program has proven that Filipinos have been able to maintain the concern for neighbors and other people and the willingness to participate in concerted action. On the other hand, Brigada Eskwela is a government program launched with the underlying purpose of transferring the burden of government responsibility to the community in the light of the decreasing budget allocation of the government education due to deficit revenue generation, corruption or a combination of both. Bayanihan spirit is being exploited by the government, to divest responsibility and using this Filipino community value as front. In light of these different perspectives, the study seeks to investigate the political, social, economic and cultural implications of Brigada Eskwela.
Existing literature related to the study covers discussions of the underlying principles governing the public school system and the link between government and public education. Information on these aspects provides foundational support in understanding the implications of the Brigada Eskwela public school program.
Public School System
Public school system developed in light of equity to provide all people with the opportunity to obtain formal education to achieve various levels of gain from the personal goal of enriching knowledge and engaging in professional employment to the social goal of instilling scientific knowledge on citizens to make them able contributors to society. Moreover, the public school system also supports respect and application of the fundamental rights of all people, enshrined in international human rights, to education. (, 2000) Due to the importance of the state providing access to venues of education to its citizens, the responsibility fell upon the government to sponsor education through the public schools. To support to accessibility, the idea of public education is that schools are funded and operated by the designated government agency. No charges such as tuition fees for education are collected from students or parents and the funding comes from revenue collected by the government through taxation. This means that public education falls under the complete responsibility of the government. (, 1999)
The figure below shows the concept of the public school system. This shows that the government plays the role of providing funding, managing the operations of the schools, and developing policy support for the schools.
This also means that the role of the community in the public school system is indirect. Community indirectly participates in financing public schools by paying their taxes translated into public revenue and allocated by the government various forms of public service including public education. The community also indirectly helps in the management of the operations of public schools by contributing management and utility personnel together with teachers. Teacher and parent organizations also allow community representation in the management of the operations of public schools. The local community hosting a public school also indirectly participates in the development of government policies for the school by influencing the government through advocacies in public councils.
In relation to the study, the public school model shows that although the government has the primary responsibility for public education, the community also plays an important role in enabling the government to provide funding, manage and have policy support for public schools. However, in real situations, the model does not necessarily result to the provision of community access to public education. Political issues besetting government function to provide public education include corruption of public funds or misappropriation, economic issues include economic downturns resulting to low aggregate income and low tax collection, social issues involve weak value accorded to education, and cultural issues involve discrimination or unequal distribution of budget to different areas or different cultural groups.
Investigating the need for the government to draw additional support from the community in fulfilling its responsibilities to provide public education including the provision of educational support such as learning tools and materials and a school environment conducive to learning is needed to understand the Brigada Eskwela program. The nature and extent of the additional support drawn from the community justifies this need. If the additional support covers aspects beyond the three functions of the government based on the assumption that government is able to company with its three functions relative to public education, then the additional support involves the desire of the community to enhance public education. Bayanihan expresses the desire of the community to enhance education. If the additional support covers aspects of any or all functions of the government then the support provided by the community to public schools stems from the failure of the government to meet its functions due to these political, economic, social or cultural exigencies. The expression of bayanihan then becomes transformed from being a voluntary and supplemental community activity to a necessity for the community to fulfill the failure of the government.
Deregulation & Privatization of Education
The parties concerned over public education can be categorized according to public and private organizations. A number of marked differences distinguish these two groups. First difference is in their goals with public organizations aiming to provide the needs and wants of society while private organizations seeking to satisfy personal or business interests. Second difference is the organization of these sectors with public organizations characterized by bureaucratic structure and private organizations described as simple and rational. Third difference is the transposing strengths and weaknesses of public and private organizations. The strength of public organizations and weakness of private organizations is concern for common interests while the weakness of public organizations and the strength of private organizations is efficiency in service delivery. Deregulation constitutes a solution to the inability of the government to manage particular public organizations or institutions. This works through the government transferring responsibility and management of public services to the private sector. (, 2006)
These differences together with the political, economic, social or cultural exigencies experienced by governments in providing public education explain the reason for moves on the part of governments to deregulate or privatize public schools. One justification for privatization is the failure of the government to comply with all its functions. Another justification is the shift in perspective of schools as organizations similar to private organizations fuelled by the interest to achieve similar levels of efficiency.
In relation to the study, the concept of privatization could explain the reasons for the increased need for the government to engage the private sector in providing public education including the necessary education support such as well-maintained classrooms and school premises.
Statement of the Problem
In line with the background of the study and literature review, the research seeks to investigate the underlying reasons for Brigada Eskwela program of the Department of Education and the program’s implications on ability of the Philippine government to comply with its responsibility to provide public education including the necessary financial support to maintain classrooms and school remises conducive to learning.
Objectives of the Study
In line with the problem sought to be addressed by the study, the research process proceeds to meet these objectives:
1) Obtain comprehensive information of the Brigada Eskwela program of the Department of Education including the aims and justifications of the program;
2) Determine whether the nature and extent of the additional support drawn by the program from the community;
3) Assess the program to determine whether this primarily reflects the bayanihan spirit of Filipinos or express the failure of the government to comply with its function to allocate funds to support public education;
4) Derive implications of the assessment on the performance of the Philippine government, particularly the Department of Education, to fulfill its funding functions in providing public education by maintaining public schools;
5) Develop conclusions and recommendations on ways of improving public education in the Philippines with the balanced participation of the government and the community.
Significance of the Study
Government programs seeking additional community participation in the delivery of basic public services has been happening for decades now. Although these programs have been met with positive and negative feedback from various sectors of society, efforts to derive a comprehensive understanding of these programs, the reasons for these programs, and the implications of the need to develop these programs on the state of government of the Philippines are limited. The study seeks to fill this knowledge gap by investigating one program, Brigada Eskwela, to clarify these issues.
In conducting the study, descriptive research will be used as methodical approach. Descriptive research seeks to explore causes of a specific phenomenon, elicit facts on a situation as these occurs, and portray accurate profiles of the parties or variables involved in the situation (, 2003). The purpose of using this approach is to capture aspects or the whole situation as it happens and explore the causes of the situation (, 2002). This approach is appropriate for use in this study for reasons linked with the characteristics of the descriptive approach of being quick and flexible. First is the approach allows the researcher to conduct further investigations when new questions or issues arise in the course of the study. Second is the approach provides the researcher with allowance to drop any areas of the research deemed to be unproductive as the research process proceeds. Third is the practicality of the approach in terms of time and money because of the flexibility accorded to the researcher by this approach (, 2003).
Descriptive research utilizes observations and interviews in gathering data. The researcher selected this approach to meet the need to gather first hand information on the plight of public schools in Metro Manila, which constitutes the National Capital Region hosting the center of government through observation of selected public schools and interviewing key informants from the Department of Education, public school administrators, teachers and parents. Through the information derived from observation and interviews would provide the research with comprehensive information on the Brigada Eskwela program. With the help of the descriptive approach, a clear picture of the issue becomes derivable ( and , 1995). Descriptive research could also become an extension or forerunner to a particular related exploratory research—a useful research approach used in discovering phenomenon; seeking new insights; asking questions; and evaluating a situation in a new light (, 2002).
Data requirement for this study includes primary and secondary data. Secondary data are definitions, concepts, past research results and statistics in published summaries. Secondary data may be categorized under three subgroups: interview-based data, documentary data, and data compiled from other different sources. Interview-based data are results of analyzed interview or transcribed questionnaire answers in previous researches related to the study, documentary data come from analyzed primary data in published summaries relevant to the study. Primary data in the study comes from the transcribed observations of public schools in Metro Manila and interview results of key research informants. Secondary data serves as the foundational support of the study while primary data works as confirmation or invalidation of the existing theories and empirical knowledge on government programs requiring additional community support.
Data Gathering Method
To obtain primary data from the key informants, a questionnaire of closed and open-ended questions will guide the interview process. A mixture of questions allows the collection of comprehensive data. Closed questions enables the researcher to draw a boundary on possible responses as control to ensure the derivation of relevant information such as the demographic data on the respondents and questions answerable by a given selection of possible answers while open-ended questions allows the space for the respondents to explains to elaborate on their answers. Observations of randomly selected representative public schools in Metro Manila will be made based on defined criteria and transcribed for analysis.
Results of the primary data will be analyzed by comparing these with theoretical and empirical data contained in the literature review, developing a clear and complete account of the Brigada Eskwela program, assessing the merits of the actual application of the program, and determining the implications of the program on the ability of the government to meet its public education funding function.
Data Validity & Reliability
Applying the observation method gives rise to the issue of researcher bias. This will be addressed in the research through the determination of uniform criteria in conducting the observation. The results of the interview of key informants would also support conclusions made on the observations.
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