Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones has recently declared that her agency has emerged victorious in terms of distance learning modalities and of implementation of measures. She made such a declaration on national television and on national dailies at the onset of classes last month, September 13 to be exact.
Such a statement, though never novel on the part of Secretary Briones, has caused so many sectors of society- especially us teachers- to be utterly jolted and bemused at the same time. Honestly, I happen to be one of the thousands of teachers/citizens who cannot fathom the national schoolmarm’s baseless pronouncements since the day she took over the reins of DepEd.
It is quite ironic that a supposedly highly educated bureaucrat/academic/researcher has uttered an illogical and fallacious statement on DepEd’s distance learning implementation. Sometimes, I shake my head in disbelief whenever I read or watch news that features Secretary Briones or any of her bootlicking undersecretaries who are as underperforming as a Chevrolet Camaro or a Ford Mustang with a 2.3-liter engine. The basic educational honchos, including the soon-to-be-retired secretary, may be intellectual behemoths but they are actually moral leeches because they cannot face the music with grace and fortitude and they do not bother to venture out into the field to talk to teachers face to face.
Has DepEd been victorious in its implementation of distance learning modalities?
Jesus Christ, it’s a resounding NO!
These are the reasons why DepEd’s so-called victory is a total blasphemy against our educational stakeholders and our nation:
- We are forever at the mercy of internet connection. Even though Globe, PLDT, and Converge have been churning out their publicity materials proclaiming that they have improved their services, we cannot take their declarations as gospel truth. There are still so many learners and teachers who perch on rooftops, climb trees, or even troop to mountains just to get good signals.
- Teachers are constantly inundated with paperwork (even if DepEd has said that everyone will go paperless). I have been listening to sob stories of teachers who have been juggling their professional, personal, and moral responsibilities. Most of them have been feeling burned out because they have been working slavishly, often at the mercy of DepEd and of their respective district superintendents and school supervisors.DepEd, remember that teachers are supposed to teach and do research, not perform extra paperwork!
- Learners constantly complain about internet connection and module contents. This is a very valid sentiment because there are not just one or two learners, but hundreds of thousands who are economically-challenged and who have to resort to contending with modules that are not only error-filled but also semantically and pragmatically deficient. DepEd has been in hot water millions of times yet they do not bother to clean up their act wholeheartedly.
- The implementation of BrigadaEskuwela is taking a toll on teachers’ health. I have nothing against BrigadaEskuwela itself for it is a very noble cause and I have been a part of it several times and up to the present. The problem I see, though, is the way BrigadaEskuwela is being implemented by DepEd. So much paperwork needs to be done and the higher-ups at the Central Office do not bother to be considerate. DepEd must provide teachers leading the BrigadaEskuwela in their respective schools with much time to complete all paperwork, especially reports.
- Teachers are being asked to attend meetings and accomplish tasks even beyond working hours.Sacre bleu, Secretary Briones! Don’t you know the concept of work-life balance? This goes for you as well, DepEd undersecretaries, regional office directors, and school district superintendents! You are all reincarnations of Ramses and all other pharaohs who have rendered the Israelites utterly useless after being sold into slavery for hundreds of years!
- Our learning materials are at most sub-standard. We cannot expect modules to be valid both at face value and at what the contents are. Yes, our module writers are generally very competent and fluid in their writing. However, the problem is in quality control. Yes, quality control is one of the culprits, apart from the time frame given to write the modules, the system of distribution, and other similar issues.
- We have a DepEd Secretary who purports to see the light (but actually does not). Secretary Briones and undersecretaries, why don’t you listen to our teachers’ and learners’ concerns with all your heart? Could you please get off your high horses and go out into the field to see what is actually happening in terms of implementing your distance learning modalities? You need to be hit hard by the realities you see because you are primarily responsible for helping to implement reforms in education. Start within your own backyard, for Christ’s sakes!
- We have a traditional media that downplays teachers’ and learners’ problems with distance learning. With the exception of PTV-4, Sonshine Media Network, Inc., UNTV, DWIZ 882, CNN Philippines (to a certain extent), Manila Bulletin, Manila Times, Manila Standard, The Daily Tribune, and DZRH, most traditional media outfits try to soften their stance on the quality of basic education by downplaying the problems that teachers and learners face whenever they are utilizing the different distance learning modalities. Instead of focusing on the real problems, these media outfits take advantage of teachers’ and learners’ problems by focusing on sensational issues just to gain media mileage and more viewers (and ultimately advertisers). Jesus Christ, I would not be shocked if one day, Joseph Pulitzer or KaDoroy Valencia would turn in their graves and cast aspersion on the current top brass of DepEd!
Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the top eight reasons why DepEd has not emerged totally victorious in their implementation of distance learning modalities!
I hate to spoil the fun on your birthday weekend, Secretary Briones, but may the good Lord give you more decades to sort out the education-related mess you have made or exacerbated in your almost six years as DepEd Secretary!
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