In an upcoming Senate public hearing that will discuss updates on the opening of classes, Senator Win Gatchalian will raise the issues on erroneous learning materials distributed to learners.
Since the opening of classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) repeatedly drew flak for errors found in its learning materials, including its self-learning modules (SLMs) and DepEd TV episodes. One of the most recent gaffes that went viral is an illustration depicting farmers with tattered clothes and impoverished, a representation that was criticized for propagating stereotypes.
Aside from ensuring the accuracy of content in learning materials, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture pointed out the need for sensitivity in portraying different groups and sectors, especially the marginalized.
“Bahagi dapat ng pagsusuri sa mga aralin ang pagtiyak na ang mga ito ay sensitibo sa kung paano natin bigyan ng representasyon ang iba’t ibang sektor ng ating lipunan,” Gatchalian said.
DepEd has since reiterated that it has a zero tolerance policy on discrimination and stereotyping, vowing that it will conduct a probe on the incident. DepEd will also issue a clarification on this depiction of farmers.
Last October, DepEd launched Error Watch where the public can report errors found in learning materials, including DepEd TV episodes and DepEd Commons. According to DepEd’s latest available information, there were 41 errors found in its Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) from October 12 to 20, 27 of which came from those developed by the department’s field units.
“Sa pagpapatuloy ng pag-aaral sa gitna ng pandemya ng COVID-19, hindi lamang ang paghahatid ng edukasyon ang mahalaga nating talakayin. Mahalagang masiguro rin natin ang kawastuhan sa mga araling itinuturo natin sa mga mag-aaral,” said Gatchalian.
DepEd explained that these errors in locally developed modules did not undergo quality screening by the Central Office. To boost quality assurance efforts, DepEd said it is working with “third party expert SLM conformance reviewers” from volunteers and the academe.
According to Gatchalian, it is crucial to identify mechanisms to prevent the distribution of learning materials that were not properly vetted. He reiterated that since most errors tend to come from field units, quality assurance measures should also be strengthened at the field and regional offices. The lawmaker added that while correcting an error in a module is the right action, sharing inaccurate lessons and correcting them afterwards would cause confusion among learners.
The Senate’s public hearing on class opening updates is scheduled today. The same hearing will also continue the Senate review on the implementation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act No. 4670), a law that seeks to improve the living and working conditions of public school teachers.