Monitoring Amidst Malady

“So near yet so far”

That’s exactly how people behind the Monitoring and Evaluation Team of DepEd Malaybalay City Division or any organization felt when in search for data and proofs of performances and programs, especially at this very trying time. The task of monitoring has become even more challenging because of the pandemic.

Indeed, the crisis has worsened the work of the M and E Team and has put them in a seemingly different place and plight. Before the dreaded virus took over the world, closely monitoring the schools and districts in the Division was tedious than it seemed. When reports or data are needed, notices are already sent to concerned school heads and supervisors, weeks prior to the deadline.

One may expect the M and E staff to just be “waiting for the guavas to fall”. No, members of the team do not just sit around and wait for feedback. Following up was always the hardest part of the process. When all else fails, they personally visit the field and see the schools for themselves, making sure that the numbers and names coincide and that programs or activities are really implemented. When the situation calls, they more likely craft the data themselves, when it’s not supposed to be their job, just to beat the deadline and the goal.

Attaining 100% of the target data was always impossible. Some schools and districts may fail to render their report with reasons including internet connection, power interruption, missed memorandum, uninformed or misinformed by their school heads, coordinators have other appointments, and many other possible causes.

They have to make do with the available data. Few, raw, true. Consolidate. Submit to the Regional Office. All this does not only happen 24 hours. That’s almost a month of chasing and running for records. That’s just one specific report. Imagine then how many reports and data are piling up, crisscrossing, overlapping in a month.

To make matters worse, that was the routine before CoVid hit the Philippines. We are in a more difficult situation now. Since school opening is moved to October and Work from Home set-up is extended, most of the teachers and school heads have different flexible time. Factors contributing to the delay of submission of report are doubled. Internet connection is slower this time so communication is staggering. Mass gathering is prohibited. One cannot just rush to any school because we need to follow some health protocols. Most of the schools are misguided and disoriented as to the new policies especially about the dry run for the school opening, learning modalities, webinars, Brigada Eskwela, anti-CoVid health measures, and parents’ orientation.

If there’s one lesson we all must learn from this malady, it is “that we be more considerate yet we should not stop working”.

Edelina M. Ebora