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For nearly a decade, the Department of Education has implemented Child Friendly School System (CFSS) programming in schools throughout the country with the support of UNICEF Philippines.
UNICEF contracted with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in 2008 to conduct a global evaluation of its CFS initiative. The evaluation was expected to serve as a baseline assessment, examining the effectiveness of UNICEF’s CFS programming efforts in the areas of inclusiveness, pedagogy, architecture and services, participation and governance, and systemic management. The Philippines was selected as one of six countries for this global evaluation.
For this CFS global evaluation, AIR visited 25 schools in the Philippines that had received support under the CFSS initiative. During school visits, AIR researchers and local trained data collectors observed the school grounds and buildings; watched teachers in action; surveyed school heads, teachers, and students; and conducted interviews and focus groups with school heads, teachers, families, and other key stakeholders. Within the constraints of the global evaluation, AIR was not able to tailor all of its evaluation questions specifically to the Philippines context, but it benefited from the data gathered in the Philippines in the course of the global evaluation in addressing the country’s own focus.
The Philippines has made significant strides in all aspects of its CFSS. Most teachers supported the use of interactive teaching methods. Over 90 percent of students said that students were encouraged to participate in class and work together during class. Nearly all students found that what they were learning was interesting and was what they needed to know in life. Classroom observations also suggested that teachers were using child-centred teaching techniques, were organized, and were interacting with students respectfully and positively.
Teacher survey data further demonstrated teachers’ commitment to more innovative pedagogical techniques in order to create a more effective and high-quality learning environment for their students. All of the classrooms were clean and orderly and students had sufficient space to work. However, there were causes for concern about some classrooms with inadequate protection from the elements, poor ventilation, loud noise, and inappropriately sized furniture, which more often occurred in rural schools. Interviews with teachers and school heads pointed to a few consistent barriers that prevented schools from fostering a more child-friendly environment: (a) large numbers of students in the classrooms and (b) insufficient instructional resources.
Schools promoted the physical health, hygiene, and nutrition of their students. Schools offered feeding programs, which were operated by families. School gardens were created to supplement the feeding programs. All parties were concerned with the sustainability of the programs, since limited resources were a significant barrier. School heads reported that students were provided with health education and access to health and dental screenings. The largest barrier to health, hygiene, and sanitation in rural schools was a lack of water systems; this was not a concern in urban schools.
There was a high level of awareness about the importance of safety, security, and psychosocial well-being among stakeholders, but interview reports did not reveal particular efforts or activities to develop positive social and emotional skills of students. Nearly all teachers and students felt safe in the school. Teachers used positive forms of discipline and management with students. While most students reported that they accepted each other and interacted with and treated each other positively, a significant minority of approximately 25 – 30 percent of students reported being unable to resolve conflict without starting a fight and that there schools were being run by bullies that that there were some students who no one talked to.
In the area of inclusiveness and gender sensitivity, stakeholders reported that the schools provided equal access and participation to both boys and girls regardless of their ethnicity or religious background. There was overall gender parity in terms of enrollment and attendance, with boys missing significantly more days than girls to work or assist the family. Students were positive about the acceptance they felt from teachers toward themselves and their families. Capacity at the schools to support students with disabilities was low, with 75 percent of the school heads indicating they did not have teachers who had been specially trained to work with students with disabilities.
The level of participation by parents and community institutions was high across schools. According to schools heads, every school had an active Parent–Teacher–Community Association (PTCA). All of the schools relied upon families, through PTCAs, to provide time and labour to assist the schools, such as preparing the building for the new school year, planting and maintaining the school garden, preparing the feeding program, and implementing construction projects. Few schools engaged parents in decisionmaking about matters affecting the school; instead school staff perceived family participation mainly in terms of resource support for the school. Regular meetings and dialogue occurred between teachers and parents to inform parents of their child’s progress. Parents supported learning at home, according to their reports. Community participation in schools related more to financial assistance rather than involvement in decisions related to schools.
The purpose of this report is to present an evaluation of the effectiveness of CFSS intervention efforts within the Philippines. The core research questions addressed in this report are as follows:
1. To what extent have Child Friendly Schools (CFS) in the Philippines promoted a child-centred and effective environment that promotes quality learning?
2. To what extent have CFS in the Philippines created an environment that promotes physical health?
3. To what extent have CFS in the Philippines created an environment that promotes security and psychosocial health?
4. To what extent have CFS in the Philippines created an environment that responds to diversity and acts to ensure inclusion, gender sensitivity, and equality of opportunity for all children?
5. To what extent have CFS in the Philippines involved families and communities?
This country-specific report is based upon data collected for AIR’s 2009 global evaluation (AIR, 2009). The evaluation utilized mixed methods to describe how CFS models were implemented in multiple contexts, to provide data on the extent to which the key principles of CFS—child-centredness, inclusiveness, and democratic participation—were being realized, and to provide a baseline and create tools to monitor future progress. Moreover, the evaluation combined quantitative, qualitative, and visual data from diverse sources, which permitted the triangulation of data from multiple sources to test the consistency of findings obtained from different stakeholders. In addition, the evaluation was designed to describe how CFS models have been implemented in multiple contexts to provide data on the extent to which the key principles of CFS are being realized, to identify challenges, and to provide a baseline and create tools to monitor future progress. Key aspects of the evaluation methodology are described below.
In the Philippines, the evaluation:
* Employed site visits by teams—the data collection included 1- and 2-day visits by teams to 25 schools in the southern and northern regions of Thailand;
* Focused on the range of schools—schools were selected to represent the range of CFS schools in terms of locality (urban versus rural environments), duration of implementation, and demography;
* Employed randomization—students, teachers, and families were randomly selected for interviews, focus groups, or surveys, and the classrooms to be visited were randomly selected;
* Addressed phenomenological issues—the evaluation employed survey instruments to explore how a representative group of students and staff experienced the school;
* Balanced sensitivity to local context and analytical uniformity by combining AIR and local site visitors;
* Created or tailored instruments and scales to address the needs of the evaluation—AIR customized or created 14 instruments and 17 reporting scales to meet the needs of the evaluation;
* Drew on its experience with CFS through
The State of CFS in the Philippines
In this chapter, we examine how well the Philippines had achieved its goal of developing schools that were child friendly based on the five characteristics described in Chapter 1. For each subsection of this chapter, we address one key research question associated with a focal area by drawing upon data from surveys, focus groups, and classroom and school observations. The subsections are organized by descriptors of each characteristic and/or additional themes that emerged from the data analysis related to it. In some sections, comparisons from the global report (AIR, 2009) are noted.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The Philippines elected to focus its CFS interventions to create schools that are effective for all children, healthy for all children, protective of all children, and inclusive and gender sensitive, and that involve families and community institutions. The conclusions and recommendations are presented as they relate to each of the foci listed above.
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