Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The need for simple reFORMS (Day 13)

The need for simple reFORMS (Day 13)

by Rey Laguda

(This is the 13th day of 50-day journey of DepEd Undersecretary Rey Laguda as being serialized here with his permission, culled from his Facebook account - Blogger/owner)

Teachers deal with a lot of paperwork. It's a major part of their work. There are many forms to be filled up at the school level by both teachers and administrators. There were forms that even contained similar information that were gathered repeatedly. The need to simplify and streamline beckoned.

So in 2012, The School Forms Review Team was formed representing teachers, principals, division personnel including the superintendent, regional and central office personnel. The work was to review all existing forms at the school level and to generate feedback and discussion on usage, timing, content, and process flow. The objective was to rationalize data elements in existing school forms and create simplified new forms without compromising quality of data gathered. A total of 67 school forms were included as baseline inventory. From this number, 36 were identified as the most common school forms that cut across divisions. A smaller number of 16 forms were then identified as priority for review. From November of 2012 to March 2013, consultation and discussions were held to cover SY 2012-2013. This involved an iterative process, doing time and motion studies, understanding scenarios of schools with computers and without computers, etc.

By the end of the study, this highly-motivated team came up with a fantastic analysis and a set of recommendations for presentation to the entire Management Committee. The 16 forms had a total of 634 data elements. These forms required about 298 hours from every teacher involved and about 120 hours per school head on the average. Out of the 634 data elements, 403 were removed because they were redundant or no longer relevant. The 16 forms were reduced to 7 forms containing 231 data elements. This was estimated to reduce the time teachers spent on these forms to 32 hours for the whole year. For the school head, it was down to 24 hours for the year. There were also other improvements such as creating electronic versions of the forms and resizing them to enable printing on commonly available paper sizes (e.g. A4). As a result, printing costs were reduced and teachers no longer had to shell out their own funds for the old forms which were being produced by some enterprising individuals. These are officially now what are referred to as School Forms (SF) 1 to 7 ( ). In the end, the team wanted to simplify the work so that teachers could have more free time for themselves or to prepare for their lessons.

This is just one example of what an open culture for innovation and empowerment can do. People representing the field were given an opportunity to influence policy and practice that would ultimately, simplify their work and at the same time make them more effective. Their hard work paid off. There are still more forms that need to be reviewed (all part of the reFORM efforts) and hopefully simplified. The only way to go is to get people involved and be part of the change.



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