Education 360° Investment Program
Recognizing the importance of providing quality basic education to children in their formative years, the Valenzuela City government embarked on a participatory and comprehensive education program and called it the Education 360° Investment Program. It entailed the provision of adequate education facilities and elicited the active participation of parents in educating their children. It also included trainings for teachers and a nutrition or feeding program for 16,667 underweight elementary pupils.
To ensure that learning and development starts and continues at home, the teaching skills of parents were built through parenting camps and school workshops. During the workshops, reflection and peer-learning encouraged the parents to be closely involved in their children’s schooling.
The school curriculum was also redesigned to meet the learning needs of students. An assessment of students’ competencies provided the basis for the capacity building programs for teachers and students, as well as, for the learning materials that they needed.
Improving the reading abilities and comprehension of the pupils became a priority. The city government instituted week-long training camps on remedial reading instruction for the teachers. In addition, the city government conducted a summer reading camp for almost 16,000 elementary school children. The program involved volunteer education students from the city’s local university, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela.
Lastly, a performance incentive program was also put in place to reward schools and Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) that performed well.
The combined program components have resulted in major gains. For instance, the 2,844 students who were tested and identified as nonreaders are now able to read. From 18,299, the number of non-readers and frustrated readers in Grades 3 and 6 decreased to 272 students or an impressive reduction of 98.6%. Meanwhile, 88% of the students for SY 2013-2014 under the feeding program are no longer considered severely wasted and 78% have progressed in terms of academic performance. While the average score of high school students in the National Achievement Test for the school year 2013-2014 is 45%, the students from the Valenzuela Mathematics and Science High School recorded an average of 84.57% with an average of 97.25% in Mathematics.
In addition, 97% of the parents are actively involved in the Nanay- Teacher program. There is 100% participation rate in school activities in 17 of 39 public elementary schools. Meanwhile, the completion rate or the number of children who are able to finish schooling is high at 85% in elementary and cohort survival rate in Grade 6 is also high at 86.64%.
More importantly, the 360° Investment Program has provided platforms for participatory governance to flourish. The city’s residents are recognized by the city government as equal partners in policy formulation, planning, implementation and evaluation. By incorporating the programs into the Local School Board, and the city government’s budget, the sustainability of the program is more or less assured. A team of parent mentors has also been constituted to transfer the technology in organizing the Nanay-Teacher program to the PTAs of Valenzuela’s sister cities in the provinces.