Gatchalian seeks accountability for vulgar learning module

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021   •   542

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants those involved in the creation and clearance of a self-learning module that includes an obscene word to be held accountable.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, was referring to a now recalled module that was recently flagged for containing a vulgar description of a mythical creature “aswang” which means sexual intercourse when translated to the English language.

The senator said that since the meaning of the word is clear and obviously not appropriate for young learners, he suspects that the inclusion of the word in the material was “intentional.”

What’s worse for Gatchalian, however, is how these materials still get through DepEd’s quality assurance process.

“Obviously the system failed. And we also need to investigate this matter and hold the quality assurance mechanism or those people who are implementing the quality assurance to account. But more importantly, look for that person who wrote that,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio earlier said that the module was recalled last February and already rectified by the division office concerned. Based on the DepEd data, the module was used by Grade 10 students in Pampanga for the second quarter.

According to DepEd, 155 errors were found in learning materials from October 2020 to June 2021, of which 104 were from locally developed materials, 25 were reviewed by DepEd’s Central Office, 19 were from unknown sources, five from DepEd TV, one from a privately-developed material, and one from a DepEd textbook.

Gatchalian said he will look into DepEd’s quality assurance process in the upcoming Senate inquiry on the preparations for School Year 2021-2022.

Senate Resolution No. 739, which Gatchalian filed, aims to assess the capacity of basic education institutions to deliver quality education for next school year, whether through face-to-face classes or distance learning.

Gatchalian seeks better learner performance in math, science to boost innovation

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday pushed for the need to improve K to 12 learners’ proficiency in both math and science to foster innovation in the new normal and help in the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery.

In a statement, Gatchalian said it is crucial to equip learners with strong foundational skills that will boost innovation, which, he said, is important in promoting economic recovery and building resilience, including preparedness for future health threats like the coronavirus pandemic.

He cited the results of the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which showed that among Grade 4 learners who were assessed, only 19 percent had some basic mathematical knowledge, while 13 percent showed limited understanding and knowledge of scientific concepts and foundational science facts.

Another study, the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), also showed that among Grade 5 learners, only 17 percent developed the proficiency in mathematics to transition to secondary education.

Gatchalian also said that the Philippines ranked second lowest in both math and science in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

While the Department of Education (DepEd) is currently streamlining the K to 12 curriculum, Gatchalian noted that there is also a need to improve the quality of teachers and address issues hounding the “spiral progression approach” mandated in the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10533).

The senator said that the spiral progression approach or the spiral curriculum “exposes learners into a variety of topics and concepts which makes the curriculum crowded.”

“For some, this concept is not conducive to teaching in depth or not helping students master the basic subjects,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

With this, Gatchalian again pushed for the passage of his Senate Bill No. 2152 or the Teacher Education Excellence Act, which seeks to improve the quality of teacher education and training in the country.

The proposed measure also aims to revamp the Teacher Education Council (TEC), and improve the coordination among the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

“This will ensure the link and coherence between pre-service education and in-service education, and improve teacher education outcomes,” he said.

DepEd clarifies opening of classes in September still blended learning

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday (July 19) clarified that the opening of classes on September 13 is still through blended learning.

During the virtual press briefing, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said President Rodrigo Duterte still has not approved resuming face-to-face classes amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Gusto kong mag-clarify na ang pag-approve ni President ng September 13, ang in-approve niya ay for opening of classes na blended learning pa rin,” she said.

(I want to clarify that the President approved the September 13 class opening for blended learning still)

Briones, meanwhile, said they are still proposing a pilot study for face-to-face classes in 100 schools.

Before reopening face-to-face, she said that schools should follow health and safety guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“What we are proposing is a pilot study of 100 schools but the decision is still with the President,” she said.-AAC

School infra projects remain top priority over conversion to isolation facility — DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said schools with ongoing infrastructure projects can decline requests for their establishments to be used as isolation facilities.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones has issued a memorandum providing guidelines on the use of schools as isolation areas.

The Department directed schools with ongoing infrastructure projects to politely decline requests for their schools to be used as isolation facilities.

“The pandemic did not hamper our mission to provide conducive and motivating facilities. Our infrastructure projects remain a priority to help our stakeholders, especially teachers, to have a comfortable place to work in,” she said.

However, if the school is currently being used as an isolation area and the infrastructure project is to take place, the school can still house the isolation facility. That is if the school is large enough to separate the isolation area from the construction site.

If the school has a limited area to cater to both the isolation facility and the construction of school buildings, it must coordinate with the Local Government Unit (LGU) and request for the immediate transfer of the isolation facility to a nearby school that is not a recipient of infrastructure projects.

DepEd is expecting infrastructure projects to start in the third quarter of 2021. The department said these projects need to be completed by the end of 2021 to avoid the lapsing of funds. -AAC

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