Dissecting DepEd: my honest assessment in terms of several angles (first of four parts)

(Disclaimer: This article is based on my experiences as an educator/teacher trainer/ learning event executive/educational reform advocate, on my observations on how educational services are delivered, and on my fellow educators’ experiences. It intends to analyze deeply the performance of the Department of Education and how it executes its programs and responds to the call for public service. To give you further another caveat, I can only speak for myself, my fellow educators, and the millions of Filipino students and their parents.)

Education is a right ascribed to all, regardless of the society to which we belong. It is also moral and lawful for it molds every individual into a productive, positive, and contributive citizen. It also empowers every individual to pursue one’s goals, make life-changing and correct decisions, learn from one’s mistakes, and build a career (or careers) of one’s choice.

One of the major factors in determining the success of a country’s educational system is the leadership of the minister or secretary of education (it depends on how a country addresses its main education head; for instance, in the US and the Philippines, the head is called the secretary while in Canada, UK, Australia, and other countries minister). The secretary (or minister) is the overseer and chief implementer of policies pertaining to basic education. Thus, the entire department (or ministry) of education and the people it professes to serve is in the head’s hands.

In the context of the Philippine educational system, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been embroiled in not a few controversies since time immemorial. To be fair to the lead government body on education, it has had a fair share of highly estimable secretaries (ministers during the Marcos regime) such as Secretary Alejandro Roces, Minister Onofre Corpuz, Secretary Ricardo Gloria, Secretary Raul Roco, and other past heads. However, the current rule of Secretary Leonor Mirasol Magtolis-Briones is one that the general public perceives as one that is tempestuous most of the time and has not been positively receptive to what the public needs and aspires for: a better, equal opportunity to be educated in preparation for a successful, abundant life.

Not wanting to put on a stolid front any longer, every Tom, Dick, and Harry perceives the honorable secretary as a career bureaucrat who is not only obviously unqualified (since she is not a professional teacher herself) but also long in the tooth and is still trying to revive her long-gone halcyon days in public service.

Now that a year has passed since the virulent COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc and rendered all of us economically inutile. DepEd had to rise to the occasion despite its limited resources and in spite of being caught unawares by the pandemic. Nevertheless, it still has to try much harder even though it cannot still be on par with its international counterparts.

What has DepEd done so far to appease the apprehensive students and their parents and to provide all teachers with job security in spite of the global pandemic?

Let the general public judge what the department has actually done instead of what it has professed yet has transgressed.

If we are to begin harking back to the past decades, we can say that much has changed today in terms of teacher training, students’ skills sets, curricula, research outputs, and other similar aspects. However, our educational system is still far behind compared to those of our international, developed counterparts.

In the spirit of objectivity and transparency, we have to be fair in terms of what DepEd has accomplished to date, including the reforms that it has started since its creation eons ago. Among the reforms that DepEd has begun are the Alternative Learning System, enactment of the Mother Tongue-Based, Multi-lingual Education (MTB-MLE), implementation of free public education, use of social media and traditional media to promote its programs and advocacies, and other reforms. Though the fact that our educational system is not yet on par with those of developed countries cannot be gainsaid, reforms are being implemented. However, it is not a walk in the park but a long, exhausting hike because there are many areas which leave much to be desired.

For the next three weekly issues, I will be giving my very honest assessment, complete with ratings and feedback supported by concrete sources, such as news reports, facts, and figures.

I would like to call my rating system, “Department of Education (DepEd) Performance Areas Assessment Rubric”, replete with the following areas under each category:
A. Educational Service Delivery and Quality (25 points)

  1. Quality control of learning materials, including modules
  2. Utilization of traditional and social media in presenting lessons
  3. Improvement of curricula across all basic education levels
  4. Delivery of educational services to remote areas
  5. Inclusivity and integration of minorities and the marginalized
    B.Transaction Convenience and Ease of Accreditation (25 points)
  6. Clarity of procedures in transacting business with DepEd’s agencies
    and satellite offices
  7. Proper resolution of stakeholders’ concerns and complaints
  8. Convenience in terms of requirements
  9. Promptness in terms of response and accreditation
  10. Staff members’ professionalism and deportment online and offline
    C. Program Implementation and Support (25 points)
  11. Efficacy of distance learning modalities
  12. Appropriateness of basic education curricula to present needs
  13. Transparency in terms of presenting platforms and issues
  14. Physical and online infrastructure utilization and maintenance
  15. Public awareness and consistent implementation of accreditation, job
    application, and enrollment guidelines
    D. Professional Competence, Excellence, and Security of Personnel (25
  16. Top officials’ media presence, accessibility, and performance of their
  17. Teachers’ work load and active conduct and presentation of research
  18. Teachers’ and staff members’ receptiveness to training
    4.Training, compensation, and job security of teachers and staff
  19. Stringency in screening applicants especially for teaching positions and for promotion to higher positions

Every individual item will have five (5) points as the highest score and one (1) as the lowest score. The following scores have their corresponding interpretations:
A. Five (5) – Excellent (fulfills much more than what the public requires of
DepEd and exceeds the public’s expectations always)
B. Four (4) – Above Average (fulfills more than what the public requires of the department and exceeds the public’s expectations often)
C. Three (3) – Average (meets the minimum of what the public requires and
exceeds the public’s expectations sometimes)
D. Two (2) – Below Average (barely meets what the public requires and
seldom exceeds the public’s expectations)
E. One (1) – Needs improvement (never fulfills most of the time what the public
requires and never exceeds the public’s expectations)
F. Zero (0) – Failing (fails to meet what the public requires and never exceeds the public’s expectations)
In rating every category, I will use the following score ranges in order to determine the performance of DepEd:
A. 22 to 25 points – Excellent
B. 18 to 21 points – Above Average
C. 14 to 17 points – Average
D. 10 to 13 points – Below Average
E. 9 to 12 points – Needs improvement
F. 8 and below – Failing

As for the cumulative assessment of DepEd, which is worth 100 points, I am ascribing the following score ranges:
A. 95 to 100 points – Excellent
B. 89 to 94 points – Above Average
C. 83 to 88 points – Average
D. 77 to 82 points – Below average
E. 71 to 76 points – Needs improvement
F. 70 points and below – Failing

To implement change, we must first embrace change and reform for the better. We can never expect reform if we do not live to work for it.#

(Next issue: Assessment of Educational Service Delivery and Quality and of Transaction Convenience and Ease of Accreditation)

If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to edteo.ramos@yahoo.com or to coachjet.inspirations@gmail.com and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email.