K-12 implementation - years of being condemned by DepEd

By Joy Rizal

When DepEd decided how to implement its K-12 program, it must have seemed like a good idea to phase it in one year at a time, following one class of students each year. Hypothetically, allowing the students to receive new books and material each year. Unfortunately the condemned children of the k-12 implementation class have yet to see a textbook or any learning modules until so late in the school year that the materials are useless (assuming they receive anything at all).

Each year DepEd seems to do nothing more than slightly modifying their “standard cut and paste promises” that all students will be receiving personal textbooks, learning modules, have smaller class sizes, etc. Then has the audacity to give basically the same excuses year after year when the materials do not show up.

However, this year I will have to give DepEd credit, while they have not improved the education in schools, still not been able to deliver learning material, and still ignore and a long list of serious issues within the education system, they have gotten more efficient at one thing.

They are now combining their promises and excuses into one statement.

As demonstrated in their June Statement regarding learning materials.

June 5, 2014

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) assured yesterday most of the public schools, including those in Yolanda-devastated areas, have sufficient learning materials this school year.

DepEd Assistant Secretary Jesus Mateo said the learning materials are also available in the DepEd Learning Portal, which addresses delivery problems.

“The learning materials that we provide the schools are now in digital format. We install the learning materials in the DepEd portal so the schools with access to the Internet can download them,” Mateo said. The computerization program is part of the DepEd’s regular budget.

Meanwhile, Mateo said they have provided new textbooks and other teaching resources to schools damaged by Yolanda last year. TDepEd has buffer stocks of textbooks.

Mateo said the agency has already addressed the 2010 backlog in textbooks, attaining a 1:1 student to textbook ratio.

DepEd has continued to deliver the learning materials for Grades 3 and 9.

A new curriculum for Grades 3 and 9 will be introduced this year under the K to 12 program.

“So far, there are a few schools which have not received the learning materials yet maybebecause of the delay in delivery or procurement,” Mateo said.
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The books will be delivered except for a few schools? One has to love political double talk. Apparently the few areas that might not receive learning materials are regions I, II, III, IVA&B, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX X, XI, XII. That is just a few areas out of the whole country, isn’t it? Oh wait a minute that is The Whole Country! Should we mention to Mateo that the current year is 2014? Or is anyone within DepEd even honest enough to admit that fixing backlog issues from 4+ years ago is irrelevant with regards to today’s backlogs and lack of materials? And why "maybe because of"? Shouldn't DepEd KNOW why materials are not being delivered? (or do they just need to make up a story to try to hide the truth?)

So basically what Mateo seems to be saying, DepEd has a big budget to print and deliver physical books/materials but the only thing that will be available is a Digital copy, hidden somewhere on the internet. Or as we found last year some material might, possibly, be located in password-protected areas that only some people within DepEd can apparently access.

Now in all fairness I cannot say ALL the regions did not receive any material. However, I can say that I have not seen any schools in northern Mindanao whose students have received any of the promised materials for this year’s k-12 implementation.

As for the alleged digital copy of materials available for schools, very few schools have a computer, fewer have Internet access, and even fewer have any computer systems for student use. Plus no one seems to know what the web page address is of the alleged digital copies of the books and learning materials that are being used in the classrooms. Even scarier is the fact that there have been some within DepEd we asked about the web page address of the digital copies that did not even know what a web page address is. (I am sure a digital copy of learning material will be very useful to those people.)

Then let us not forget per DepEd’s own instructions, in essence, stating that our children are not to be given a photocopy of material for use, nor are copies to be given to parents so they can help their children with subject areas that are difficult for their child. As it was stated last year by DepEd:
“Instruction has already been given to the School Heads to instruct their teachers to employ teaching strategies that will effect learning without the need of the photocopy.”
So our students get no books, no hands on learning material, nothing will be copied for student use and instructors won’t or “do not have time” to tell parents what they are teaching in class. Then when a child does poorly on their test it is somehow the parent’s fault for not helping the child study better. After all, DepEd has done everything they are required to do for our children’s education. Thus, none of the problems are their responsibility. Or as it was so quaintly stated by some of our local DepEd employees, “Learning material for students IS NOT OUR PROBLEM”.

One has to start wondering how incompetent, how dim-witted, how corrupt, how immoral, the people within The Philippine Department of Education have become, to make these statements or to ALLOW the same problems to occur that condemn our children, and our nation, year after year. One would think that if anyone in The Department of Education was even remotely trying to make good on the promises of a better education for our children, we would not see nearly the exact same serious problems with the same lame excuses given year after year.

There comes a point with buildings when a building is so termite ridden and so structurally unsound that trying to repair it is unrealistic. The best option is to condemn the building, rip it down/burn it to the ground and rebuild from scratch. I fear this is the problem with The Philippine Education System. From the local level to the highest ranks, the system simply has to many corrupt individuals (termites) that are always undermining any attempt to improving the system. We have learning material (if it shows up) that is so riddled with errors it sometimes seems that students put the material together rather than educated adults. Not to mention recourses, and other funds that never reach their intended destination, gross overcharging of materials, etc., etc., etc. All of which is defended and ignored by not only DepEd, but also by the very groups that are suppose to be overseeing DepEd to insure that none of the abuses we continue to see year after year happen in the first place.

Perhaps it is time that we shut down our current Department of Education, literally removing every employee, contractor, anyone that has any affiliation with Our Current Education System. Then rebuild the department so that EVERY meeting is required to be broadcast live online, recorded and posted publicly online (for literally everyone to see) be it national, local or even international. Have every book, learning packet, supplemental material anything given to our children for every class available online for ANYONE to view at anytime (with no password protections and with web WebPage addresses and links posted publicly and also given freely when anyone asks for it.) With publishers and printers spot checked (also recorded and posted publicly) to insure that they are meeting their printing and delivery deadlines. I would be tempted to say that even the classrooms and local school administration offices should have live broadcast monitoring.

Sadly our education system seems to have so many immoral, dishonest individuals that continue to defend the corruption and dishonest actions of others that it is creating even more problems within DepEd. It seems the only way root out and keep "the termites" out is to require a constant publicly available "microscopic eye" on every person elected, hired, contracted, etc. that has ANY interaction with the Department of Education.

Or as the Late Raul Roco (former Secretary of Education) use to put it.

If you let the sunshine in, all the germs will die.