ENTHUSIASTIC. The children of Leyte felicitously hold their colorful “Ang Aking Komunidad” posters as they show-off the outputs they created through a community-based storytelling event anchored in the Project Welcoming Integration for Interconnection (WIFI), in partnership with Beengo Farm on Sept. 21, 2019 at Tunga, Leyte. PHOTO COURTESY OF Mr. Jejomar Gamalo Villacorte

by Dinelin Love Demdam and Clarissa Rodriguez

Tacloban City fosters stonger connectivity to a safe and peaceful world as Mr. Jejomar Villacorte, Region VIII scholar, advocates Global Citizenship Education (GCED) through his project, Welcoming Integration for Interconnection (WIFI), which has already started its initial phase in the various districts of the city.

Integrating GCED and SDGs: The initial steps

Villacorte took part in theKorea-Philippines Teacher Exchange Program (KPTEP)on April 5 to July 8, 2019, and was designated as the Division GCED Coordinator of the Division City Schools of Tacloban upon his return to the Philippines.

Project WIFI, the re-entry application project of Villacorte, served as his main activity as a GCED Coordinator.

“I envision to make GCED be felt and experienced by students, teachers and staffs in all schools under District Learning Center 5 and Tacloban City Division in general so they too will find meaning in achieving and belonging in a safe and peaceful world,” Villacorte said when he was asked about his purpose for doing WIFI.

The target of the project, which is a two-year program from January 2020 to 2022, is to conduct service-oriented, community-based programs to integrate GCED and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through district and division-based activities.

“So far, the activities for the first six months are already laid on the table. I am targeting to expand the program to other districts or to the division right away after the 2-year pilot implementation,” Villacorte explained.

From July to December 2019, he managed Division-Based Storytelling activities to the students of Tacloban as they were the application of the fourth SDG – Quality Education.

On September 3, he administered a division training of school administrators on the effective conduct of classroom observation anchored on the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers – Results-Based Performance Management System (PPST-RPMS) with the integration of GCED in lessons which also applied the fourth SDG.

After being designated as the District GCED Coordinator on January 15, 2020, Villacorte conducted district-based seminars on COVID-19 to teachers, students, and other stakeholders in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) – Regional Office 8 and in coordination with the Tacloban City Division Health and Nutrition Office, and the Division Disaster Risk Reduction Office.

“Service-oriented activities have long been thought to play a key role in the lives of learners. Activities that were conducted and to be implemented are grounded on facilitating quality learning among students, teachers, staffs and other stakeholders through relevant and timely service-oriented activities,” he added.

Overcoming challenges

Villacorte admitted that he encountered challenges in the implementation of the Project WIFI due to lack of buy-in, his lapses in management strategy and coordination, andworkload and personal concerns.

But through all the issues, Villacorte continued to lead the empowering of people and partnerships; the setting and delivering of attainable results coupled with double strategies; and the giving of personal satisfactions (positive reinforcement) and meaning in every activity done.

Villacorte expressed appreciation for the support of the supervisors and principals who helped him to conduct the project.

“A lot of people have been supporting me to conduct these activities – the Regional Director of DepEd Regional Office 8, Dr. Ramir Uytico; Schools Division Superintendent of Tacloban City, Dr. Mariza Magan; Public Schools District Supervisor of District Learning Center V, Dr. Alegaile Rodrigo; and the principals of the schools that will be taking part in my future plans for Project WIFI: Dr. Greg Galos, Mrs Marissa Gualberto, Mrs. Manuela Corpin, and Dr. Ma. Delia Soria. They have greatly supported this program,” he emphasized.

Boosting WIFI connectivity

Villacorte planned to continue Project WIFI through conducting district-based activities to be participated by officers and personnel of Rizal Central School, RTR Elementary School, Cirilo Night High School, and Sto. Nino Senior High School in the District Learning Center V, Tacloban City. This program was expected to benefit a population of 10,000 in the four schools.

This project was service-oriented, giving opportunity to students, teachers, and staff to develop values and to put into actions all their learnings in school as responsible members of society. Villacorte emphasized that this project would make learning more meaningful and more relevant to all internal and external stakeholders.

 “As a GCED advocate, it is my responsibility to capitalize my fellow educators to prepare our students geared with moral values to be successful in the workplace of the 21st century,” Villacorte commented when asked about his thoughts on the importance of GCED.

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