Malaybalay City, Bukidnon-DepEd charging for classroom learning packages?
I recently learned of some disturbing issues regarding this school year’s (2013-2014) text books / learning packages which the schools are suppose to be using. (The Learning Packages, which are essentially low budget workbooks, are to be used until next year or perhaps the following school year when standard textbooks should be available.)
However, in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon several (if not all)of the public schools have no text books / learning packages available for students. Especially for the new curriculum such as for Grade 2. The only available material in the classroom is ONE copy of the workbooks which the instructor uses to write the information on the board for the students (in many schools more than 50 students in a class) to copy.
The Malaybalay City DepEd and School Board are making available photocopies of “Work Books” matching the material being used by the instructors that the parents can PURCHASE if they choose to do so. Currently there are no free public school textbooks, learning packages, or other study material available to the students. Only the packages that the parents have the option of purchasing are available to the students. Of course, if the parents do not purchase the material their child will likely ‘fall behind’ according to the school officials. However the officials are quick to re-state that the choice to buy the material or not is up to the parents, and is not required. They also point out that when the classroom copy of the material is available to be borrowed that parents may take the workbooks to a print shop and have it copied. (With many classes having over 50 students - that would take two months or more for each parent to get a chance to make a copy from the original books. That is assuming the unrealistic possibility that the material is available to be borrowed every day. But remember the choice to get the books or not and how is up to the parents and not required by the school.)
The schools claim that the WorkBooks are not covered under the public education program and that the School District has not received any learning material, which was to be distributed to the classrooms for use by the students. They also claim they have no budget to make the material they are using available to all students free of charge.
If this is the material that the students are suppose to receive, why is the Malaybalay City DepEd withholding the resources from the students until the parents “voluntarily” purchase the material?
If as the school district claims the problem is a lack of funds being the reason that the material is not available to the students without the parents purchasing the “workbooks”, what happened to the funding allocated by the government to insure that the material would be available for all students?
If these work books are not the material that was to be distributed, where are the materials that the schools are suppose to have available for the schools, classrooms, and students?
What will be done by DepEd and other government officials (dare I suggest formal legal inquires?) to ensure that the students in public schools under Malaybalay City DepEd supervision receive (as soon a possible) the material that DepEd has promised that all students will receive?
And last, while not a question I have asked any official, I have to wonder, with so many parents afraid to speak up about these problems and other issues for fear of retaliation against their children, how many more regions are doing similar things in order to extort ‘voluntary payments’ out of parents for materials that are suppose to be provided to the students at no cost?