Sen. Win Gatchalian on March 8 called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediately investigate reports on “sagot for sale, ” a scheme where parents hire someone  to answer their children’s self-learning modules.

The lawmaker also warned parents  that children in time will bear the brunt as a consequence of the practice.

Sen. Nancy Binay said the DepEd is not sure if this is systemic or highly organized in the school level or district level.

“Our teachers value honesty and integrity and they will never allow such kind of cheating to happen,” she said. 

Binay said perhaps, it may only merit a Senate probe if the reports DepEd gathered would confirm that it has become wholesale and reached institutional level. 

In the latest public hearing, which tackled updates on Academic Year 2020-2021, Gatchalian referred to an earlier report by the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) which pointed to how struggling parents hire someone else — some of whom they find online — to accomplish their children’s modules.

According to DepEd, 99.13 percent of the more than 14 million public school learners passed the first quarter. This excludes data from the National Capital Region, Region 7, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

However, Gatchalian said the scenario in Valenzuela is different and is more consistent with the low national achievement scores.

Among Grade 8 learners, the average is about 48 percent across different subjects. In Grade 9, the average across different subjects is 51 percent and 55 percent among Grade 10 learners, way below the passing rate of 75 percent.

While Gatchalian acknowledges that the DepEd’s report is only based on what the regions submitted, he reiterated that there is a need for a better understanding of how learners are evaluated under the distance learning setup, which has been hounded by challenges such as the lack of interaction with teachers and reliable internet connectivity.

“I know this is challenging, but again we need to fully understand the assessment conducted by the DepEd,” said Gatchalian.

“And we also want to see a per subject analysis because we all know that we need to help our students by looking at their weaknesses in different subject matters,” he added.