Background of SEAMEO Community Involvement Projects

Background

During the SEAMEO Council President's visit to the SEAMEO Secretariat on 17 July 1996, His Excellency Sukavich Rangsitpol announced that many of the primary schools in rural Thailand are considered "backward" compared to schools that receive funding from the community in addition to government allocations. A prime example is the Ban Prue Wai Primary School of the Chachoengsao Province which H E Sukavich Rangsitpol proposed to the SEAMEO Secretariat Director to adopt. The SEAMEO Secretariat Director accepted the SEAMEO Council President's proposal and promised to assess the needs of the school in order to improve its present condition.

The first official visit to the school was conducted upon invitation of the SEAMEO Council President during the SEAMEO Centre Directors Meeting (CDM) on 24 July 1996. The SEAMEO Secretariat Director, SEAMEO Centres' Directors, and other SEAMEO Staff toured the school and its facilities. The Centre Directors agreed at the CDM to adopt the Ban Prue Wai Primary School as a SEAMEO community involvement project.

A report on the project was presented before the 32nd SEAMEO Council Conference in February 1997 in Manila. The Council recommended that SEAMEO Community Involvement Project undertake the development and promotion of a school adoption programme in Member Countries.

Under the Council's recommendation, three SEAMEO Centres have adopted four primary schools. In the Philippines, SEAMEO INNOTECH adopted two primary schools: Toro Hills Elementary School and Pura Kalaw Elementary School in Quezon City. Also in the Philippines, SEAMEO SEARCA adopted the Maahas Elementary School in Los Banos, Laguna. In Brunei Darussalam, SEAMEO VOCTECH adopted Jerudong Primary School. Including the Ban Prue Wai Primary School, SEAMEO has adopted five primary schools altogether.

Objectives of the Adoption

The initial objective is to improve the existing school system. This will focus on the students, learning facilities (e.g. books, libraries, and teaching aids), teachers, school management, and parent involvement. The long term objective is to help the school achieve sustainability.

The Implementation in 1997 - 1999

The activities conducted at the schools vary according to the needs of the adopted school, and the specialization and resources of the adopting SEAMEO Centre.

SEAMEO Secretariat has assisted in collecting donations for and conducting some activities to improve the sub systems of the Ban Prue Wai Primary School.

SEAMEO INNOTECH has trained eight teachers from the Toro Hills Elementary School and seven teachers from Pura Kalaw Elementary School, all of whom were invited to SEAMEO INNOTECH's training courses on scholarship. One teacher from the Toro Hills Elementary School was invited to participate in a seminar-workshop of Project INVENT held at Bicol University from 13 to 26 April 1998. Teachers were encouraged to bring about change within their schools by developing an adopted school capacity building system. SEAMEO INNOTECH made donations of furniture and equipment including computers. With the use of new Centre-developed technologies, research methodologies and teaching strategies, schools are expected to reap more benefits from these programmes.

SEAMEO SEARCA has donated computers, furniture and books to the Maahas Elementary School and has provided teacher training on computer operation. In order to link the adopted school to other schools in the region, an application for telephone service has been filed with the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT). In order to involve the surrounding community, an organizational meeting of the Community School Board has been arranged. A plan has been proposed for teachers to update their skills with continuing education courses offered in English, Mathematics and Science. For the school year of 1998/1999, fifty scholarships have been pledged for indigent students from various grade levels. Future plans include more teacher training, provision of internet access, continuation of scholarship provision to indigent students, library enhancement, enrichment courses for the school graduates in preparation for high school entrance examinations, formalizing and strengthening the Community School Board as an advisory body to the school.

SEAMEO VOCTECH has completed the needs assessment of the school through on-site visits and held a workshop to focus on the school's development. Three out of five areas of concern need to be immediately addressed, which include teachers' training, school management and attitudinal change. Based on the results of the needs assessment, a plan of action has been implemented to improve the existing condition of the school. The needs are as follows:

  1. provision of relevant training programmes to enhance teaching competencies for both teachers and administrators;

  2. provision of professional counsellors;

  3. guidance in conducting workshop/seminars to enhance teaching and learning activities;

  4. promotion of amicable pupil-teacher-parent relationships;

  5. establishment of a teachers' guidance clinic; and

  6. motivation of higher levels of achievement in teachers, parents and pupils.

In order to provide the necessary assistance, the Project team requires two years, from July 1997 to June 1999, to complete this project. Activities in the first year were focused on training teachers to bring about change within their schools through the development of a school capacity building system:

  1. October 1997, formulation of strategic planning;
  2. November 1997, Computer Literacy training for 15 teachers;
  3. From 6 to 9 May 1998, a resource person from SEAMEO INNOTECH facilitated training on Critical Thinking Development for elementary school teachers. There were 26 elementary school teachers from Jerudong Primary School and surrounding primary schools in attendance;
  4. From 20 to 22 May 1998, a resource person from SEAMEO RELC facilitated training on Developing Reading Skills. There were 24 teachers from Jerudong Primary School and surrounding primary schools in attendance.
  5. From 22 to 25 June 1998, a resource person from SEAMEO VOCTECH facilitated a workshop on Operating Overhead Projector and Transparencies for Effective Teaching. There were 25 teachers from Jerudong Primary School and surrounding primary schools in attendance