Textbook Count

Organization(s)

Government Watch (G-Watch)

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Basic Project Information

Textbook Count was a collaborative initiative of G-watch and the Philippine´s Department of Education to tackle corruption in textbook procurement by mobilizing citizens to monitor bidding, production, delivery, and distribution of textbooks to all the schools in the country.

Sector

Project Summary

Objectives

  • Prevent corruption in textbook procurement
  • Ensure delivery and quality of textbooks to schools
  • Increase responsiveness of textbook suppliers
  • Mobilize volunteers and CSOs
  • Establish performance benchmarks for the Department of Education 

Summary

Textbook Count aimed to prevent corruption in textbook procurement through citizen monitoring. At the beginning, the project was limited to inspecting textbooks’ arrival at schools, but it grew to eventually monitor all stages of the procurement process and even to support distribution to schools. Volunteers implemented a straightforward process based on checklists to safeguard the integrity of the bidding process, ensure the quality of textbooks, and guarantee adequate delivery to districts and schools. 

The most common findings affecting the price, quality, and quantity of the books were the following:

  • delays in the delivery,
  • omissions of steps in the procurement process,
  • lack of resources for distribution,
  • inadequate storage facilities, and
  • impractical accounting procedures at the district and school level.

These findings were collected by regional coordinators and delivered to G-watch who organized problem-solving sessions with CSO representatives to present the findings to the Department of Education and find solutions.

This project is an example of using simple tools and processes to tackle relevant development challenges. In fact, Textbook Count led to interesting spin-offs in education, such as Bayanihan Eskwela, and other efforts in other sectors, including health and humanitarian assistance. Nevertheless, the project faced challenges sustaining engagement overtime, strengthening decentralized partners, and reaching schools throughout the country. These challenges affected Textbook Count’s success as a government-led program, in partnership with regional organizations, after G-watch stepped back in 2009. 

Use of Information Communication Technology

None

Scale

68% - 85% of textbook delivery sites in the Philippines

Target Population

Students
Results

Results Methodology

Representatives of the Department of Education and G-watch evaluated the project each year (after every round) using indicators collected from citizen’s monitoring reports and compared them to government goals and discussions about problems and accomplishments related to textbook procurement

Indicators Used

  • Percentage of textbooks monitored
  • Percentage of delivery points reached
  • Price of textbooks monitored
  • Number of findings identified
  • Number of schools reached

Reported Results

  • Between 68% and 85% of textbook delivery sites monitored
  • More than 60 million textbooks monitored
  • Textbook cost reduced by 50%
  • Increased responsiveness of publishers improving production, distribution, and rectifying reported errors
  • Reduced textbook procurement cycle from 24 months to 12
  • Reduction of leakages in textbook procurement 
  • Institutionalization of the project and replication in other sectors
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