Jess Mateo, 2015
PAHRODF Case Studies
Results Story 14: Institutional Interventions
Shifting Perspectives and Behaviour
Over the years, the Department of Education (DepEd) has maintained a long and beneficial relationship with the Philippines Australia Human Resource and Organisational Development Facility (PAHRODF). Catering to the various needs of DepEd, PAHRODF has conducted countless programmes and interventions for the Department.
Jess Mateo, currently Assistant Secretary for Planning and Development, describes their relationship with PAHRODF as, an ‘open dialogue, an open conversation’. In fact, because of this, their programmes have evolved and are continually evolving. “They listen to our requirements, our needs. Unlike in past scholarships, they just give us the area that they want for us to apply for. Right now it’s different, we determine with them the type of area that we wish to be developed and then they respond to those requirements,” he reveals. With high praises as well for the various Learning Service Providers (LSPs) that have come their way, he says, “On a scale of 1-10, dealing with these providers is very excellent, meaning 10.”He relates, while also taking into account the feedback from participants, that they have a listening ear and that they put everything into consideration to come up with relevant programmes.
Being in DepEd for almost 21 years, Assistant Secretary Mateo or Asec. Mateo as he is often referred to, could be nothing but grateful for all the time and assistance that PAHRODF has devoted to the organisation through the years. Especially with his major function in the Department, that of determining and addressing the needs of the whole organisation, including the 46,000 schools under DepEd’s wings, PAHRODF’s role has proven invaluable. The Facility has been instrumental in helping the organisation zero in on which area needs improvement and what to focus on. As Asec. Mateo shares, “PAHRODF helped us determine the needs of the Department, and helped ensure that we sustain the reforms that we have made - what kind of capacity, what kind of training, both short and long term that our people need so we can operate efficiently and effectively.”
In addition, Asec. Mateo says that he is witness to the number of PAHRODF scholars and participants, who have emerged from their scholarships or interventions, applying and making full use of all that they have learned. Through their Re-entry Action Plan (REAP), a plan that applies their learnings to organisational concerns, specific gaps in their respective areas are being addressed, with revisions and adjustments made along the way when necessary. He stresses that although he has not been a participant in any of these interventions, he plays a key role prior to the implementation of the participant’s or scholar’s REAP, ensuring that it is aligned with DepEd’s goals. “My role is to make sure that it fits the direction of the department and that the beneficiaries of the programme are fully utilised,” he elaborates. As he further emphasises, it is his job to ensure that the REAPs are all in consonance with the K-12 programme and DepEd’s rationalisation plan which aims to improve the quality and efficiency of government services by focusing efforts and resources on its core services.
Asec. Mateo reveals that his full support of the Re-entry Action Plans of participants and scholars, is rooted in the realisation that although the REAP in itself is extremely important and valuable, it cannot be effectively implemented without the engagement of the whole department. In reviewing individual REAPs, he takes a proactive approach, giving feedback and advice to participants and scholars to test the viability of their REAP.
He shares an incident with one intervention participant about her REAP. “I told her, ‘Look at your requirements. Make sure that we do a quick impact evaluation of that policy. What would be the resources needed and the like.” Knowing how difficult it is to implement the REAP on their own, Asec. Mateo tries to help wherever he can so participants and scholars can properly proceed with it. This includes, not only his input but also the manpower and resources they might need. As he points out, he tries his best to process these requests quickly so as not to hinder its immediate implementation and make the process any more difficult.
With this all-out support, he reckons that the implementation of the REAPs has not been subject to too many challenges. With the REAPs going through him before hand to ensure that these are aligned with the mission and vision of the department, he feels that implementation is easier for the participants or scholars as it comes across as a directive from the top, with management support present every step of the way.
Outcome of interventions
If there is anything Asec. Mateo wishes to single out as a significant outcome from all the interventions, it is in the changed perspective of participants. Gaining a better world view, he sees this channelled into the various REAPs crafted. He also mentions the shift in behaviour and mindset of scholars as they move and think differently afterwards. Asec. Mateo shares, “At least within my sphere of influence, I’ve seen most of the scholars under my wing. It has a positive impact on them – the way they carry themselves, the way they think. I know because I’ve seen them. I’ve observed them prior to the programmes that they have undertaken. For example, now they question some of the existing policies and they initiate activities on how we can improve further those policies.”
More equipped with a newfound confidence, he feels that these scholars are now able to think more critically about the department and its plans. In fact, he feels that this change in behaviour and mindset has been infectious since it has even trickled down to the members of the department in the lower levels. With the scholars as catalysts, everyone then becomes motivated to work towards the improvement of the whole department.
In the end, becoming a global organisation that is efficient and effective is the ultimate goal of the Department of Education. He reveals, “We dream of ensuring that no child is left behind. That everybody has access to education. And since the Department is mandated to provide quality education, we really need to be more creative, innovative, and this programme really helps us in changing the paradigm.” PAHRODF has always been there to push the department towards this direction and Asec. Mateo is thankful.
As if to stress his point further, and with a highly descriptive analogy on hand, he shares, “I always liken the Department of Education to an elephant – big and slow moving. And therefore you need some sort of motivation to move it. To move that elephant quickly, PAHRODF is there, training and helping us change the way that we think.” And surely, the facility’s role can’t get any clearer than that.