Saturday, May 25, 2024

Quality Check for Quality Learning

by the Weekly Sillimanian | April 13, 2022

Days ago, a photo of a self-learning module (SLM) from the Department of Education (DepEd) went viral. It showed two questions that implicitly attacked Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo’s character.

Naturally, netizens were outraged, criticizing DepEd for yet another instance of mismanagement. They then went on to discuss how this only furthers the flaws our current education system already has.

This is not the first time errors and questionable content have been found in DepEd SLMs. Back in 2020, 155 confirmed errors were found in modules. These included grammatical and typographical errors, wrong math equations, gender stereotypes, and the use of a vulgar Filipino word. In response, DepEd said they would do better with checking the quality of their learning materials. However, it is now 2022 and a similar incident just happened.

In their defense, the module was made in 2020, and according to DepEd, the teacher who formulated the controversial questions had passed away in the same year from COVID-19. However, they still should have inspected these materials before distributing them to schools. With the heat of the upcoming elections, it is their duty to ensure that these SLMs are not used as politicking tools, especially to influence impressionable students.

This is not just about politics either. As the country’s standard of basic education, DepEd must also make sure that the information in their learning materials is factual. They must not forget that every piece of information they give out will potentially affect students’ knowledge for their future workplaces. Netizens are not unhappy because of who the module questions mentioned, but because they expect their tax money to result in better outcomes which include high-quality education.

DepEd has since apologized again for the recent occurrence, ensuring us that they will do better — but how far will these apologies go? Our country’s learners depend not on apologies, but on concrete actions. 

Similarly, as the standard for older learners and soon-to-be professionals, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) must also bear the same amount of accountability we expect.

In an interview about module errors in 2020, Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said: “There will always be errors, I assure you, because we are not perfect.” And indeed, no one is. 

This mantra, however, should never be an excuse for the government to not meet the needs of its constituents. DepEd and CHED, as the bodies responsible for educating the nation’s learners, must understand the responsibility they hold. As harsh as it sounds, they cannot leave room for mistakes just because they are “not perfect”. After all, it is their duty to mold learners into future professionals who will run our country one day. 

DepEd, CHED, and other government institutions who are tasked with safeguarding the basic rights of education should ensure that their learning materials are being thoroughly checked for any discrepancies. The intellectual health of learners depends on how we deliver these modes of learning to them in an inclusive and comprehensive way. 

These institutions should also put into mind that these platforms should not be used to advance any institutional or personal agenda. Whoever jeopardizes these simple concepts should be held accountable as they are also compromising the students’ intellectual welfare. 

Quality education starts with equipping learners with quality tools to learn. Quality check should be an inviolable process for anything that involves national interests, including education.

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