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Much work still to be done

"It appears there was no quality control for the DepEd modules."

No sooner had Education Secretary Leonor Briones declared the opening of classes for school year 2020-2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic was “very successful” than netizens went to town and pointed to errors in the self-learning modules (SLMs) DepEd had produced.

Briones told a press briefing that, as a whole, the launching of classes for 22.5 million returning and new students throughout the country was “very successful” save for a few incidents, countable by the fingers, according to her, including errors in the learning modules she claimed was not DepEd’s fault anyway.

Her words: “On the basis of these 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 incidents of errors that happened, for example in modules, it appears that it was not the fault of DepEd.”

But DepEd later said it would address errors found in the SLMs it had produced and printed in a rush to roll out distance learning for school year 2020-2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic that prohibited face-to-face classes.

It is comforting to note that Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio has said the DepEd is hiring outside reviewers of the SLMs used by public school students, while welcoming netizens’ efforts to call out the errors.

He has given assurances the department’s Public Affairs Service had posted links and contact numbers where these errors can be reported.

“What we’re doing now, our Public Affairs Service (has) already posted links or contact numbers where (people) can directly report the errors they will find in our self-learning modules,” San Antonio said.

His office has also launched a Facebook page, dubbed DepEd Curriculum and Instruction Concerns and Issues, where such errors and other issues of concern on public school and distance learning can be reported and discussed.

At the same time, San Antonio said Education Undersecretary Alain del Pascua is now negotiating with potential partners for DepEd to help out in making better SLM content.

While we appreciate San Antonio’s forthrightness in admitting their failure to review all SLMs was due to DepEd’s lack of reviewers as they rushed for the opening of online learning on October 5, it is near unthinkable that they delivered the modules to the schools without looking at the content quality.

San Antonio, at a weekly virtual “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” news conference, education officials have monitored the errors in the SLMs that went viral on social media last week and had tallied a total of 35 errors.

Of the 35 errors, San Antonio claimed only one incident with an error in an SLM had undergone quality check by the DepEd Curriculum and Instruction review team.

He said there were 18 SLMs with errors that were designed and printed out by the DepEd division and regional offices, that did not go through the conformance review of the C&I Strand reviewers at the Central Office.

Sanitizing DepEd’s hands at that point is more for the coronavirus than for the ineptitude of education authorities.

If there had been no crashing protestations from social media, would DepEd perhaps have put on the brakes and addressed the errors?

Much work still has to be done, indeed.

Topics: Editorial , Education Secretary Leonor Briones , Department of Education , DepEd , self-learning modules , COVID-19 pandemic
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