Textbook Count 3

Textbook Count 3

YEARS: 2006 – 2007
THEME: Education

Banking on its success in the past three rounds of Textbook Count, the Government Watch (G-Watch) of the Ateneo School of Government took on another challenge of furthering civil society participation in ensuring quality services delivered by the government. The promise of good quality books delivered on schedule, at the right quantity was pursued with vigor as part of the continuing effort to promote civil society education and experience in good governance, with its partnership with the Department of Education (DepED). This participation continued to strengthen and eventually formalized during the involvement of 39 enlisted members of the Consortium.

Formalizing the civil society participation in Textbook Count 4 is a Commitment of Support and Cooperation signed between the DepED and the Consortium of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Led by G-Watch, the Consortium had 39 enlisted members, up from 33 in Textbook Count 3. Comprising the Consortium were advocacy groups for good governance, educators’ groups, faith-based (Muslim and Christian) and student organizations, among others. This list does not yet include the community-based organizations, such as the Parents-Teachers-Community Associations (PTCAs), which volunteered to participate in the Textbook Walk.

Three rounds since, Textbook Count proved to be an effective tool in preventing losses in government resources by providing third-party monitoring. With five new organizations committing support for the program, the core of civil society partners had been reinforced at best and the additions gave more diversity to the group. Joining in are CCP-Sugpuin ang Korupsyon, Linangan Foundation, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PS-Link), Risale Nur Islamic Students and the Rotary Club of Manila.

DepED’s commitment to the collaboration of the government with the civil society for the Textbook Count has been remarkably consistent. From the previous rounds of the program, the expansion of CSO component had been gaining ground in the department. It has, in fact, become an almost natural part of the procedure of textbook procurement and delivery. This has made G-Watch focus more on the other aspects of program implementation. Notable in Textbook Count 4 is the lessened reliance of local monitors on the coordination being made at the national level. With less supervision from G-Watch, the local monitors were still able to carry out their tasks. This indicates growing local initiative, quite a spillover from the familiarity with the process that the local volunteers developed in the previous rounds.