Forging partnerships in the spirit of bayanihan
By Florence B. Caparanga
The famous African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” is a best reminder that the future of our learners lies not only on the hands of educators inside the schools but also in the hands of the community – the external stakeholders of the school.
It is our dream that Filipino learners will be given with holistic education. According to UNESCO, holistic education is an approach that seeks to fully activate all aspects of the learner’s personality (intellect, emotions, imagination, body) for more effective and comprehensive learning.
Since holistic education seeks to educate the whole person, there are non-negotiable elements which should be considered while we are trying to developed our learners holistically. It may be a dream to many but when our individual efforts turned into collective actions of the various stakeholders, we would definitely ensure that no one is left behind and that the benefits of learning are shared by all.
The K to 12 conceptual framework as provided in the DepEd Order No. 21, s. 2019 clearly states that every learner who completes K to 12 basic education program have the necessary physical, cognitive, socio-emotional and moral preparation. Indeed, while it is true that those who are involved in producing these kinds of l have learners have so much responsibility to carry on, it cannot be denied that these goals can only be achieved if there are strong partnerships between the school and the community. In the study of Gross et.al (2015) found out that school–community partnerships play an essential role in successful schools, often providing supports and resources to meet staff, family, and student needs that go beyond what is typically available through school.
In our context in the Department of Education (DepEd), let us admit that the funds being provided by the government is not enough to cover the entire needs of the schools. Nevertheless, with the limited resources that we have, we still tried to ensure that the basic needs of our students and of our school as whole is being provided. However, in reality, we normally experience scarcity of resources in running the school. In order to at least minimize the impact brought about by the lack of resources, the school, through its leaders need to ensure that there is a working relationship, networking and strong partnership with the school’s external stakeholders.
We have the parents, municipal officials, barangay officials and other non-government organizations who are willing to share their resources, skills and time under the spirit of Bayanihan. The stakeholders can provide support the implementations of the programs, projects and activities (PPAs) of the schools which are aligned in the School Improvement Plan of the School (SIP). It should be carefully noted that if there are PPAs where the stakeholders would like to support, every one should ensure that such is a priority and is part of the SIP in order to properly address the school’s development needs and priority areas for improvement.
Over the years, their commitment and support in our school and community partnership efforts paved way towards the attainment of the educational goals of DepEd. Willems and Gonzalez-DeHass (2012) described school–community partnerships as meaningful relationships with community members, organizations, and businesses that are committed to working cooperatively with a shared responsibility to advance the development of students’ intellectual, social, and emotional well-being. School–community partnerships can impact student success and post-school outcomes as well as positively influence and benefit the community in return.
In the context of DepEd as stipulated in DO No. 50, s. 2015 defined partnership as the relationship between the partner institution and the school, or any office of DepEd (Central Regional or Division) that responds to the needs of the K to 12 program in general, and Senior High School in particular, which is formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement. Hence, as a matter of DepEd policy, it is a must, however that all partnerships endeavor must address and support the actualization of the holistically developed Filipino learners with 21st century skills. There should be no partnerships that must be forged which are aligned with the intended outcomes of the K to 12 curriculum.
The DepEd Order No. 21, s. 2023 stated that school improvement does end on the last day of the week of Brigada-Eskuwela. It may be a year-round undertaking to guarantee the school children of a learning center that is clean, resilient and conducive to learning. The partnership shall likewise be sustained through the following strategies: keep the stakeholders informed of the status and progress of the programs and projects; listen to the ideas and concerns of the stakeholders through the conducts of forums and focus group discussions; conduct training and other relevant seminars; keep the spirit of Bayanihan alive in the school community; and conduct recognition and awarding programs for the working committees and stakeholders.
Today, DepEd wishes to ensure that spirit of Bayanihan is at the core of all these partnership endeavors. In the Philippines, the Bayanihan spirit happen when on voluntarily gives his/her services, shares his resources and skills and willing to help others without expecting any rewards, to achieve a certain goal. In literal sense, Bayanihan was shown before when a house made of light materials is carried by group of people one place to another location. According to Austria of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) (2022), volunteerism or the spirit of bayanihan has long been ingrained in the Filipino culture. Working people, youth, professionals, retirees, and even people who are physically challenged can volunteer because anyone can be a volunteer and make a difference. Furthermore, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), said that people can do so much while volunteering: one can teach children, give aid in caring for the environment, share your time, talent, and treasure. Volunteering can also help Filipinos learn new skills, gain experience, discover hidden talents, grow your network, and achieve personal goals.
Indeed, forging partnership under the spirit of bayanihan can be indomitable Filipino spirit which can make a difference to the lives of the learners. Likewise, the realization of the “Bansang Makabata, Batang Makabata” agenda is very close to reality. As we always say, Para sa Bata, Para sa bayan!