By Bernadette E. Tamayo and Kaithreen Cruz | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Sunday appealed to the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure that the modules for blended learning will be "error-free."
He issued the statement on the eve of the opening of classes in public schools.
A combination of online learning and printed materials or self-tutoring modules remained the mode of educational instruction adopted by DepEd for school year 2021 to 2022 because of the raging Covid-19 pandemic.
Marcos pointed out that students have complained of learning less when distance learning was first implemented last year.
"And having erroneous modules would only contribute more to the deterioration of the country's educational standards," he said.
"Hindi na nga sila natututo nang husto dahil sa mga problema sa (they were having learning difficulties due to problems with) internet connectivity," the former lawmaker added. "And there are distractions that they may also have to contend with in their homes."
"Our youth will not learn properly if the modules, which serve as their textbooks contain errors," he said in Filipino.
Marcos noted that a DepEd undersecretary admitted that from October 2020 to June 2021, there were 163 reported errors in the learning materials used during the previous school year.
Of these reported errors, 155 were confirmed to have followed validation by the DepEd.
Marcos said the Education department should have created committees to review and edit learning materials to ensure that they were well-written and prevent a repeat of last school year's fiasco.
The department has received criticisms following numerous complaints that the modules were written without regard to grammar, logic and consistency.
"Regardless of whether these learning materials were made in the regions, there should be a committee to review these," Marcos said. "How can these modules become educational materials if these are error-laden?"
"There were similar issues before with textbooks, I hope this will not be repeated because it is the children who will end up in a pitiful situation," he added.
Today, September 13, the DepEd will kick off the opening of classes through a virtual National School Opening Day Program to be led by Education Secretary Leonor Briones.
President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver a message during the opening ceremony.
"This school year, we would like to honor everyone who made learning continuity possible amid the challenges of the pandemic. Our efforts throughout the year showed our deep understanding that education is our shared responsibility," Briones said.
The virtual program, with the theme Oplan Balik Eskwela 2021: Bayanihan para sa Ligtas na Balik Eskwela, will start at 7:30 a.m.
Directors at DepEd's Central Office will provide live on-ground updates on the preparations of schools and field offices.
This will be followed by an Oplan Balik Eskwela report by Education Undersecretary for Field Operations Revsee Escobedo, and three panel discussions on education as a shared responsibility, vaccination updates and other health-related initiatives for the new school year.
The program will be livestreamed on the DepEd Philippines Facebook page.
As of September 10, 21.9 million basic education learners have enrolled in public and private schools, and state and local universities and colleges offering basic education.
This constitutes 83.6 percent of last year's enrollment at 26.2 million students.