TEACHER CORNER | Maximizing educational resources

by Ernan Esquivel Echalas

In a nation where education is not always given top priority— whether by the government, the private sector, or even families—it is a must to maximize resources. The goal is not to merely make ends meet; it is to ensure that every resource is put to good use so education is ultimately enhanced. There are several ways in which educational resources may be maximized.

The first is to define a clear focus on the goals of education. Here, the roles of the officials of the Department of Education, the school heads, the parents, the students, and the other stakeholders of education play are crucial. All of them are responsible for identifying the direction where they want education to head. Do they simply want to produce as many graduates as possible? Or do they want to develop lifelong learners who are ready for any challenge that the modern world has to offer them? What about their goals for the teachers and the other members of the school staff? What is their picture of an ideal school head? These questions must be answered in concrete detail if the school intends to genuinely address them.

The second is to identify the educational resources available to the school. Educational resources do not only mean money or educational materials; they can also mean support from other government agencies and non-government organizations. They can even mean time and attention from the members of the school community. All these resources must be managed in a wise and sustainable manner.

The third is to keep communication channels open among the stakeholders. Sometimes, teachers do not know what their students need simply because they are not communicating effectively with them. The third is to establish a system that addresses the needs according to the priorities. The needs of the school generally becomes longer and longer, and it can be overwhelming to deal with them all at once. But because resources are limited, there is a need to prioritize which ones are the most needed at a particular time. Does the school, for example, really need an expensive projector, or should the lightbulbs be replaced first? Does the school need to spend on decorations in the school canteen, or should the money be allocated on basic school supplies instead? School heads and teachers should be discerning in making these decisions so that no resources are put to waste.

The fourth is to be creative in finding more resources. Resources do not have to come from traditional means such as the government budget. A little creativity goes a long way in convincing more people to care about education. For example, some schools sell the vegetables in their Gulayan sa Paaralan for extra income. Others partner with private organizations to raise more money for school supplies, or even teacher development initiatives. In these scarce times, ingenuity, flexibility, and a sense of responsibility will go a long way in maximizing the resources available to schools. All it takes is teamwork among the stakeholders, and a true concern for the state of education in our beloved country.