A small island with big dreams: DepEd Camiguin’s innovations in promoting its island’s heritage, reaching every student, and using ICTs for human resources management
Camiguin was a small island with an area of 237.95 square kilometers situated in northern Mindanao. It was renowned for its stunning scenery and beautiful landscapes, being home to no less than 14 volcanoes. Like many small islands, however, it was constrained by its geography. Its population was 88,478 in 2015. It was predominantly rural: most of its residents were employed by fishing and farming, and more than half were mired in poverty.
Access to basic social services – including education – was limited. Quality was compromised. Nonetheless, this did not bother its residents, who did not consider education a priority. School administrators recalled that it was “never an actor in the hope of success… [nor] an ingredient in the fulfilment of their dreams.” The job prospects were dim: “In Camiguin, it took a high school leaver up to three years to find a first job; finding a permanent wage job was more uncertain. It took a college graduate one year to find their first job and up to two years to find a permanent job.”
The Department of Education Division - Camiguin actively sought ways to transform the face of education in the island, to “cultivate and nurture programs and innovations” for learners. Education would serve as that critical step towards improving the lives of citizens, and widening the opportunities available for their social and economic development. School divisions were mandated to align its goals and objectives with DepEd’s vision and mission (Annex 1). Paving the way for a more inclusive educational system in Camiguin strongly resonated with the Education for All Commitments and the Enactment of Republic Act 10533, more commonly known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which aspired to improve Filipino learners’ quality and access to education.
The Department of Education Division - Camiguin comprised 69 schools: 55 public elementary and 14 secondary schools, with 11 being run by the government. Across the division, it had a total population of 24,096 learners. It had 924 teachers. It enjoyed a 26:1 student-to-teacher ratio and a 22:1 and 28:1 student-to-building ratio for secondary and elementary levels, respectively.