Check My School (CMS) is a project which combines technology information and community mobilization to improve the public education services.
As an online platform for information access, CMS is designed to be both informative and interactive. It provides a profile page which contains the information about each school which contains pictures, school activities, services available, and many more. It provides different channels for sending feedback such as Facebook, Twitter, online chat box and even SMS for stakeholders with no internet connection.
As a community mobilization project, it serves as a platform for citizens’ participation in monitoring enabling transparency and accountability in the school operations. It is the offline side of CMS, which is operationalizes the deployment of so-called information intermediaries or “infomediaries.” In the context of this initiative, “infomediaries” are capable and technology-literate volunteers drawn from the community, who, through the information they can source from available technologies, can engage their fellow community members about their public service-related inquiries or concerns. Such mechanism stimulates demand for access to information among people who are otherwise not serviced by the government because of their limited access to technology.
The importance of access to information is best demonstrated through concrete cases where issues that directly affect the communities are resolved after utilizing information that had been made accessible. The initiative helps surface basic education issues and showcases community engagement with government to address them. This program of CMS is called Operation Thank You which translates information to issue resolution.
The tagline “Promoting transparency and social accountability, one school at a time!” encapsulates the strategy to make education information relevant in a concrete way. It means facilitating response to a school issue through the collective efforts of government, community, civil society and private sector stakeholders.
The regional operation is part of the project’s community mobilization component. CMS regional operations are consist of the area coordinator, infomediary and school volunteers. Each has several responsibilities which are considered as the core of CMS operations.
Area infomediary coordinator
- Can be an organization or as an individual.
- Serve as the leader of infomediaries who are operating in an area (ex. Leyte area). S/he creates team of infomediaries in the area if there is none. The infomediaries can be school stakeholders (parents, students, teachers), community stakeholders (NSTP students from other schools, youth organizations outside the schools), or a combination of both.
- Coordinates with the CMS national team regarding the area operations. S/he regularly communicates with the national infomediary coordinator.
- Coordinates with education stakeholders such as local DepEd offices, local school boards, and local citizen groups.
- They can be members of organizations or individuals outside the schools or school stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, admin in the school)
- Infomediaries are technology literate volunteers who facilitate the exchange of information from the schools to the online portal, vise-versa. This may mean posting pictures and data in the website in behalf of the school and relaying the information in online portal to the community
- Target schools where they orient and organize school stakeholders to monitor school services (ex. teachers, parents, students). School stakeholders involved in CMS activities are called CMS volunteers
- Lead the validation of school information in target schools. They coordinate with school heads/ administrators of target schools in the gathering of school information and validation of DepEd data on school services. They coordinate with volunteers in the conduct of data validation, guide them in the checking, report the results, identify issues, and help the solved issues by coordinating with education stakeholders (DepEd, private sector, academe, local government, local government offices, etc)\
Communications and Technical Operations
This unit is in-charge of the CMS’s digital platforms (Facebook, Twitter, SMS and website). Their functions are as follows:
- Make sure that the digital platforms are active and updated. They create news articles, post picture, upload videos or provide content in the website.
- Make sure that the digital platforms are working properly.
- They popularize the use of the digital platforms, increase its users, and engage more people to interact.
Finance and administration
This unit serves as the support group of CMS in terms of generating funds and providing the necessary logistical and administrative needs of the project.
- They find ways to generate funds and resources for CMS through donations, sponsorship or fund-raising events.
- They handle and manage the funds and resources of CMS
- They serve manage properties of CMS including purchasing and keeping of supplies and other materials for operations.
CMS Network Management
This unit is in-charge of CMS’s human resource and organizational linkages. Following are the responsibilities of volunteers in this unit:
- Takes charge in the recruitment of volunteers for CMS
- Takes charge in developing the team through team-building activities and the like.
- Helps in managing volunteers including profiling of volunteers, determining their needs, and responding to them.
- Manages the partnership engagements of CMS with education stakeholders (private companies, citizen groups, DepEd, LSBs, etc)
- Facilitate linkages with groups interested in partnering with CMS.
- Coordinates with partners of CMS in its activities