By Macon Araneta

Teachers should not be blamed for the alleged errors and confusing questions found in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) self-learning modules (SLMs), said Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

Instead, the glaring mistakes should be attributed to the seemingly “rushed” opening of classes. 

Hontiveros, whose office received reports from the group Teachers Dignity Coalition, said this resulted in DepEd’s failure to standardize and strictly evaluate learning materials. 

“It is highly unfair that the teachers should be blamed for the mistakes in modules. This only means that the system is not yet 100 percent ready for the opening of classes,” said Hontiveros,

There were cases some regions had their own initiatives come out with modules because of the failure of the DepEd Central Office to release standardized learning modules. 

In light of these reports and the increasing demands of distance learning, Hontiveros is strongly urging DepEd to form a technical working group (TWG). This will be comprised of master teachers and experts who will efficiently design, craft, vet, and screen SLMs before distributing them to schools. 

Aside from ensuring the standardization of SLMs, Hontiveros believes that this will lessen the tasks of teachers already dealing with heavy teaching loads.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the second to the last ranking obtained by Filipino students in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was a signal that the country has to improve its quality of education. 

“I want to put emphasis on teacher education because the quality of our teachers is as good as the quality of our teacher education,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

The Senator presided over a hybrid inquiry on the quality of teacher education and training and teacher education. 

“If we strengthen the Department of Education, which accounts for almost 85 percent of our students and 75 percent of our teachers, then we strengthen the nation’s foundation and its goals and development,” also said Gatchalian.

DepEd has monitored 34 errors in self-learning modules being used by students for this school year as the government bans face-to-face classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has earlier reported having monitored 35 errors.

He said the 34 errors cover 18 from DepEd field units, 15 from unidentified sources, and one that was reviewed by the department’s central office.

DepEd officials admitted that the errors range from wrong options in multiple choices, color in printing, and use of words, and images that were overstretched. They said erratum will be made on the erroneous modules.

The modules designed by its field units are only being used in limited areas and erroneous modules (which source has yet to be identified by DepEd) could be those used in private schools.