HomeThe Trinitian Researchervol. 2 no. 1 (2009)

Management of Upstream Barrio Schools: A Case Study

Adela Guarino-gillette

Discipline: Education, Education Administration



This case study deals with the management of interior barrio elementary schools in Eastern Visayas ­how the barrio schools are managed, how problems and different coping strategies are employed, and how teachers, parents, and barangay officials perceive the role performance of the principal. The fieldwork for this case study took six months involving participant observation, interviews, and visits to nine different upstream interior barrio schools.


The result of the study showed that compliance in submitting reports defines the role of the principal. Due to the number and distance of upstream barrio elementary schools, the principal manages these schools by practicing professional autonomy. Interior schools are treated as autonomous organizations where teachers, as professionals, are left on their own. Due to some limitations brought about by distance, lack of adequate transportation, and lack of adequate budget, the principal could not readily attend to the “nuts and bolts” of the daily functioning of the upstream barrio elementary schools. She is innovative enough to practice management by proxy. Little principals or teachers-in­charge (TICs) are appointed, albeit informally, to manage the interior schools. The principal relies on TICs to supervise all aspects of curricular as well as co-curricular activities. To deal with problems, the principal practices psychological coping strategies such as voluntary isolation, gardening, listening to folk music, and praying the rosary. Seemingly, due to the cited limitations, teachers perceived the principal to have abandoned them while parents perceive the principal to be a phantom administrator, heard but never seen.