Under a $60 million government financing agreement, UNDP began assisting the Department of Education in delivering one of the Government’s most critical programmes, the Kinder to Grade 12 Basic Education Programme. Under a financing agreement with the Department of Education, where the bulk of funding is from the Government, UNDP offers global expertise, high standards of transparency and accountability, and expert programme management support to accelerate service delivery. The support is time-bound, as UNDP will exit once the Department of Education’s policies and programmes are refined, and its service delivery capacities are sufficiently strengthened.
Recent fiscal reforms have helped double budgetary resources in the Philippines. In 2016, the national budget topped 3 trillion pesos, over 37 percent of which was allocated to social service sectors. The Department of Education’s budget, the highest among all, continues to grow, surpassing 460 billion pesos in 2016.
Given high ratios of children and youth—one-third of the population is under age 15—the Philippines cannot afford to fall short on education. While it attained the MDG target on primary enrolment, only 64 percent of adults have some secondary education, and the quality of education is still a major challenge.
With these issues in mind, the Department of Education has been pursuing a series of reforms, including under the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act, colloquially called the Kinder to Grade 12 (K-12) Basic Education Programme. It aims to establish and maintain a complete, adequate, integrated system of education relevant to the needs of all people and the country while also bridging the divide between education and the requirements of today’s labour market. The impacts could be profound, particularly in terms of reducing inequities in access to schooling. Dropout rates will also fall.
Expediting the implementation of the K – 12 Programme
As part of expediting implementation of the K-12 Programme, a government financing partnership with UNDP was agreed to help reduce remaining capacity gaps and ensure the timely delivery of quality development services. The partnership initially focused on expediting the procurement and delivery of ICT equipment and services for schools, while ensuring quality and best value for money.
Alongside the provision of procurement and programme management support services, UNDP implemented a technical assistance package to help the Department of Education improve its delivery of education services.
A diagnostic assessment identified strengths, weaknesses, risks and opportunities for reform in the Department’s public financial management systems. UNDP procurement support services accessed a highly competitive global market and globally recognized brands with after-sales support services, which can extend equipment use beyond the current three-year asset replacement period of the Department of Education. UNDP also provided expertise in the complicated logistics of delivering procured items to approximately 5,000 points across the Philippine archipelago. Further, it uses the procurement process to provide hands-on experience to government staff, backed by training on new skills, such as under the CIPS Level 2 Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations.
A capacity development programme aimed at boosting the professionalization of public financial management, especially procurement in the Department was implemented. A parallel capacity development programme for civil society organizations enabled them to engage in the Department’s public financial management processes, from budget preparation to budget accountability.
In addition, as part of the Department’s efforts to boost transparency, accountability and citizen participation, UNDP helped to devise a third-party monitoring system. Through this, civil society organizations and community volunteers were tapped to track the delivery of ICT packages, the preparedness of schools prior to delivery and the satisfaction of users after delivery. This monitoring system can potentially be extended to cover all aspects of education service delivery.
UNDP is offering technical assistance in an inclusive manner through the Governance Host Universities Bridging Services (G-HUBS). G-HUBS bring together academic institutions and civil society organizations as partners and service providers for public financial management assessments, capacity development and third-party monitoring. A G-HUBS-based strategy ensures that reform efforts are undertaken bottom-up rather than top-bottom.