Bayanihang Eskwela: The Citizens’ Monitoring of School Building Construction Projects

Organization(s)

Government Watch (G-Watch)

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Basic Project Information

Bayanihang Eskwela aimed to enhance the quality of school buildings and prevent corruption through community monitoring of school building construction, and through collaborative work between communities and public agencies.

Sector

Project Summary

Objectives

  • Contribute to improved student learning outcomes by ensuring the quality of school building
  • Prevent corruption in school building construction programs
  • Build capacity to collect evidence about school building projects
  • Promote dialogue around findings and ways to improve school infrastructure projects

Summary

Bayanihan Eskwela built on previous G-Watch experience with community monitoring of education service delivery to monitor school construction projects and ensure they met quality standards and were free from corruption. To do so, they forged a collaborative agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Education and supported communities’ efforts to monitor the implementation of school building projects. With a user-friendly checklist for gathering evidence and a standardized process of documenting and disseminating results, the monitors uncovered problems like omissions in community consultation requirements and flaws in the classrooms. They then used their findings to identify solutions among communities, schools, and contractors at the local level. G-Watch also used the findings in dialogue with government departments at the national level.

The project followed clear steps in order to overcome the impediments to addressing school construction shortcomings, including community mistrust of the government, and bureaucratic bottlenecks:

  • Creating formal agreements with public agencies to ensure their collaboration
  • Training community monitoring teams
  • Monitoring school building projects before, during, and after construction
  • Ensuring coordination and collaborative work between community and public servants to identify solutions to issues at the local level
  • Presenting monitoring results, and promoting dialogue with decision makers to address problems that were not resolved at the local level

G-Watch developed a partnership with the Office of the Ombudsman in order to facilitate access to school building project information when schools or local agencies were reluctant to share that information. After two iterations of the project were financed by external donors – USAID and UNDP – the Philippines Education Department decided to support the program directly, and G-Watch revised its methodologies to include assessments of the need for classrooms, in order to prioritize investments, and measures related to the quality of classrooms in terms of safety, sanitation and ventilation. 

Use of Information Communication Technology

None

Scale

70 schools in 39 districts and 9 cities across 14 provinces

Target Population

Students
Results

Results Methodology

Self-reported results

Indicators Used

Not applicable

Reported Results

  • Increased transparency in critical government procurement process
  • Enhanced responsiveness of public agencies and contractors to users’ needs
  • More than 900 community monitors mobilized and trained 
  • The Philippines Department of Education decided to support the project directly as its tool for citizen monitoring and engagement following the end of external funding 
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