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Bridging Leadership Across Sectors for Education and Social Impact Innovations

November 2020 – Through the technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB),  Teach for the Philippines (TFP), a non-profit organization working with the Department of Education (DepEd) to advance quality education, in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management’s (AIM) School of Executive Education and Lifelong Learning (SEELL), held a ten-day training program on “Leadership for Social Impact: Leading Innovations for Social Outcomes” last November 16-26, 2020. TFP and AIM have curated this flagship program for leadership training for strengthening capacities to lead reforms in school education in the Philippines.

Senior staff from government agencies and civil society organizations, well-positioned to help improve the state of education in the country, including TFP Alumni Ambassadors who serve as technical assistants in key government agencies also focused on education, attended the seminar.  The program aimed to develop purposeful leaders who are equipped to introduce innovations that would result in better social outcomes. 

ADB, TFP and AIM all share the vision of supporting the DepEd by leveraging a network of partners towards shared objectives for education. The three organizations also believe that this monumental effort starts with bridging people in positions of influence across various sectors and investing in them and their capacities. 

Among those present in this virtual ten-day program were Mayor Denny Refol Jr. of Altavas, Aklan; Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental; Schools Division Superintendent Mariza Magan of DepEd Tacloban; and Schools Division Superintendent William Gando of Sorsogon; Councilor Derek Palanca of Victorias, Negros Occidental; Councilor Philip Kimpo of Kalibo, Aklan; Councilor Hay Trenas of Iloilo City; Councilor Carl Lizare of Talisay, Negros Occidental; and Councilor Bismark Quidang of Batac, Ilocos Norte and others. A total of 74 TFP Alumni and invited representatives working in government participated.

The customized certificate program included a mix of lectures, technical sessions, and case studies to lead the participants to re-assess their skills, goals, and values, as well as to look outwardly and analyze the developing environment in which they operate, including identifying pressing social needs, and society’s shared aspirations in support of education reform. 

The program also combined the principles of leadership and personal branding, allowing participants to use design thinking in ideating and creating possible solutions to identified problems and gaps in the social environment. Furthermore, the training also facilitated the exchange of opinions, insights, and expertise of the seasoned participants on navigating the public sector.

Program participant Joel Dabao, president of the Philippine Cable and Telecommunications Association, Inc. shared, “My overall takeaway from the seminar is the appetite for innovation and change is great, not once did I hear anyone insist on something status quo. So the challenge really is to equip more and more out there to be catalysts.”

At the end of the program, learning teams presented innovation proposals with the goal of adapting these in their respective communities, and used these proposed programs as a point of discussion while networking with other participants. 

Deped Tacloban Schools Division Superintendent, Mariza Magan shares a project summary reflecting learnings from the training sessions

Program participants have cited the usefulness of the bridging leadership framework in their real life application. Through its public value module, the program has also helped foster a kinder look at government, encapsulating the possibilities of how much can be done in positions of influence. 

“My sincerest expression of thanks and gratitude to Teach for the Philippines for giving me the opportunity to be part of this AIM Training Program. I commit to apply the learnings that I have gained to my DepEd family and I am confident that the gains will be extended to a greater number in terms of innovative projects/programs that will benefit our learners and other stakeholders,” shared SDS Mariza Magan of DepEd Tacloban.

In these challenging but also opportune times when substantial reforms by the government to improve the quality of K-12 education in the country are underway, the program ultimately aimed to strengthen dialogue and partnerships with stakeholders to empower them to identify the solutions they want for their community.

Kalibo, Aklan Councilor Phillip Kimpo highlights, “There are many aspects of the course which I highly appreciate, but given one choice, I would say how it brought together the educators, elective officials, and the academe. Of all the leadership programs I’ve attended, this is the most unique. The AIM-TFP program allows for those in the education sector and LGUs to learn from the academe AND learn from each other, in order to have a more comprehensive, holistic, and organic approach to problems besetting Philippine education.”

In its 10th edition, the partnership between TFP and AIM for leadership training in education, highlights the importance of both national level as well as regional and local impetus to innovation and change.