After a learning material using what is perceived as ‘provocative’ and ‘malicious’ content went viral on social media, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go asked education authorities and institutions to ensure quality and appropriateness of learning modules while implementing blended learning techniques amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nakarating na ito kay Pangulong Duterte at gusto niyang ipahuli at panagutin ang mga gumawa ng modules na may lamang kabastusan. Hindi natin ‘yan palalampasin,” Go warned.
“Hindi dapat ginagawang katawa-tawa o bastos ang laman ng mga materyales na dapat gamitin para matuto ang mga bata. Hirap na nga ang mga estudyante na maipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral ngayon, hahaluan ninyo pa ng kalokohan ang mga ituturo sa kanila,” he added.
Go cited that in blended learning, students are required to adjust to new learning techniques through a mix of online classes and prepared modules provided to them as alternatives to a traditional classroom set-up.
With relatively limited guidance from teachers, he emphasized that the accuracy and appropriateness of learning materials provided through modules must meet quality standards for blended learning to work.
“Dahil walang face-to-face, limitado ang opportunity ng guro na gabayan ang mga estudyante. Kaya naman po mahalaga na masiguro ang kalidad ng mga learning materials at modules na ginagamit nila,” he said.
Go also mentioned that with the recently enacted Republic Act 11476, or GMRC and Values Education Act, values formation must be at the core of education and not simply be an additional subject or requirement.
“Learning modules must adhere to set standards. They must be child-friendly, appropriate, and teaches good values,” Go said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education has already disowned the provocative materials that went viral recently, saying that they were not created by the department.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, however, assured that they will take action on this matter.
After an initial investigation, DepEd found out that a private Catholic school in Zambales, Carmel Academy of Palauig Inc., used the controversial module. The Philippine National Police initially reported that the preparation, review, final printing and distribution of all learning materials, including the viral module, were all made by the Association of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Iba (ACSDI).
In a report of the Zambales Schools Division Superintendent to the regional office of DepEd, the said modules were developed by member schools of ACSDI and submitted to the latter for reproduction.
A subsequent progress report reflects that DepEd – Zambales has issued a memorandum stating that Rev. Fr. Reymann Catindig, Superintendent of the ACSDI, has apologized for the modules on behalf of the association.
He has also vowed to strengthen the implementation of their guidelines regarding the writing of the modules.
The teacher and writer of the modules had also both apologized for the learning materials.
The modules have now been retrieved for editing. With the implementation of blended learning, Go said that the government must adopt a holistic approach to education which includes reliable internet connectivity for a conducive digital learning environment, trained teachers and quality learning resources.
“Meron pa rin sa ating mga estudyante ang walang access sa internet. Kasabay ng pagsisiguro na maayos ang learning modules na ginagamit nila at properly trained ang mga guro, dapat siguraduhin na mabigyan pa rin sila ng pantay na oportunidad para maituloy ang kanilang pag-aaral,” Go said.
“Kaya naman po hinihikayat ko ang DepEd na gawing mas accessible at inclusive ang kanilang mga programa kahit saan mang parte ng bansa sa pamamagitan ng online at offline methods of teaching,” he added.
Go earlier recommended to the education sector to maximize the use of available media, such as television and radio, to facilitate distance learning among students.
“Kailangan nating magbayanihan para sa kinabukasan ng ating mga kabataan. Magmalasakit rin tayo sa pinagdadaanang krisis ng mga pamilyang Pilipino ngayon. Siguraduhin dapat ng gobyerno na walang mapapabayaan, lalo na ang mga mahihirap,” Go said.
Go, who is one of the Senate Finance Committee vice chairs, recently expressed his support for the budget proposal of DepEd during the hearing held on Friday, September 25.
He, however, lamented the poor internet connectivity as he urged private internet providers to improve their services.
“Sa lahat po ng internet providers, kung gusto ninyo talagang tumulong, ngayon na po, ayusin ninyo po ang inyong mga internet connectivity,” he appealed.