Outside in and inside out! A place to store ideas about education.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Full service schooling

Schools can level up.

We find elementary schools in almost every corner of the country. And these schools have facilities that can be used for other community activities and services. This is the idea behind the Full service schooling concept, to wit:

A full-service school integrates education, medical, social and/or human services that are beneficial to meeting the needs of children and youth and their families on school grounds or in locations which are easily accessible.

Activities such as health and reproductive health education, nutrition, recreation, mentoring, counseling, parent education, child care, and so on can be held in the community school. Having parents and out-of-school siblings get their services at schools may make them more amenable to the school system, as it allows for greater transparency of school activities and greater interaction between schools and community. It may even convince them to reenter the school system.

I actually heard about this first from the TED talk given by Thailand's Mr. Condom, at the last part where he talks about the one-stop-shop school vision that they are about to implement. Schools usually have access to the internet, and this can be the focal area for lifelong learning activities.

Is this a good idea?

It's already happening in our country where schools is the venue for elections, census, and other extracurriculars, but shifting to a full-service school might increase teachers' responsibilities on top of their already full plate. The addition of providing for services within the premises might detract them from their primary focus in education (specially in educational reform).

With the celebration of all sorts of This week or That month or International Year for Something-or-other, the full service school may be forced to trend with the occasion and end up with a conceptually disjointed curriculum.

Another thing is that so many agencies are in charge of these services that it may be difficult for full service schools to coordinate well with these agencies.

Is the effort worth it?

I think the best answer for this lies in assessing the schools using a different report card, as the school community has grown, so must the assessment of effectivity be more expansive. What are its outputs? More importantly, what are its outcomes?

I feel that this issue is too big for me to figure out on my own, and I have no research in the PHilippines whatsoever to back me up. Suffice to say I'm really interested in this idea, as it interfaces environment, community, and education.



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