(continued from July 04, 2021)
Ever since I began running a teacher training business apart from being a full-time teacher, I have put a premium on reading not only about education and language (my major) but also about educational issues. Before, I did not know why I had been fascinated with problems pertaining to education, although I surmised that it must have been my experiences as a student and as a teacher that spurred me to dig deeper into issues in Philippine education.
I had finally gotten the chance to discover, many years after, the real reason behind my desire to become an educational reform advocate when I decided to start this column.
One of my primary goals in advocating for educational reform was to ferret out the truth behind every issue, even if it meant having to brandish my pen to (figuratively) slay the transgressors behind the issues. A second intention was to expose the ills affecting both teachers and learners, from the international and national levels down to the regional levels and then the classroom level.
Having had no love lost for Department of Education secretary Leonor Briones and Commission on Higher Education chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III, I do not regret throwing brickbats at them and their equally doltish underlings due to their incompetence (and this applies especially to DepEd, which apparently has not learned the art of taking full and actual responsibility).
The two education honchos actually deserve such treatment because they are cheating us taxpayers and bamboozling us with their endless praise releases yet they leave so many stones unturned.
Because our learners are the pitiful pawns in the game of deception called educational decline, I cannot mince words any longer and so I have to expose all the skullduggery caused by the two governmental agencies that are supposed to be protecting our teachers and our learners in the first place.
It is so deplorable to see our pupils and students be at the mercy of DepEd (and CHED, in the case of college-level learners) and bear the cross caused by irrepressibly rapacious telecommunications giants. Moreover, DepEd’s and CHED’s edicts are borne out of their respective heads’ desire to placate the public (yet they fail at this most of the time). These orders are at most unreasonable and inconsiderate, and one such example, for teachers, is strict compliance with the controversial, convoluted, and oppressive CPD Lawauthored by the grossly incorrigible and self-serving putschist/mutineer ex-senator Antonio Trillanes IV. As for students, they are being forced to contend with mediocre modules and inconsistent internet connection. I have heard of some students from far-flung areas who barely survive their academic life due to many inconveniences life has brought about to them.
The likes of the widely known insipid communists France Castro, Sarah Elago, Carlos Zarate et al are adding insult to injury by proffering criticisms instead of concrete solutions because they do not have a clear picture of the real score in Philippine education, especially as far as our learners are concerned.
What are the mortal sins that DepEd has committed against our learners?
Here are the palpable transgressions that have been festering like gangrene:
A. IN TERMS OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING MANAGEMENT
- CRAMMING SO MANY LESSONS INTO ONE ACADEMIC YEAR. DepEd has been definitely guilty of this as accused. I cannot fathom why Briones and her ilk are treating curriculum planning like geese being force-fed for foiegras. They cannot seem to understand that it is not always practical to make our lessons way too advanced. We need to determine what our students really need to learn and connect these to real-life applications.
- MAKING SCHOOL VACATIONS SHORTER. Just recently, the good secretary announced that school vacations would be good for only several weeks. Doesn’t she realize that students need to enjoy their youth? Sinverguenza! It is fortunate that she retracted her decision; however, she cannot deny anymore what she said even if she apes Marty McFly.
- TEACHING ONLY TO PASS TESTS. Our national examinations are supposed to be indicators of actual learning, not trophies to be bragged about if ever a school gets high scores. We all need to teach for much better assessment, not for fleeting achievement.
- NOT REACHING OUT TO MINORITIES THROUGH CONTENT AND INCLUSIVITY IN THE EDUCATIONAL CIRCLE. We are too Manila-centric for our own good. Imagine, we are promoting diversity and acceptance of all ethnic groups but it is mere lip service. The numerous errors in modules can attest to our lack of unity as a nation. We are akin to India, who until now cannot fully accept Northeast Indians.
- MAKING TEACHERS TEACH SUBJECTS THEY DO NOT KNOW. God forbid that this happen again! How can we teachers become fountains of wisdom if we are forced to teach subjects we do not fully know and apply? Susmaryosep!
B. IN TERMS OF ASSISTING THEM WITH THEIR LEARNING
- NOT MAKING MODULE CONTENTS SIMPLER TO UNDERSTAND. DepEd’smortal sin is to tend to sound too pedantic. As a result, our students become intimidated instead of challenged, and timid instead of intrepid. We have to be grammatically, semantically, and pragmatically correct and explicit always, especially in writing.
- FAILING TO REACH OUT TO THE POOREST OF THE POOR. This, again, is another of DepEd’s long-standing heinous atrocities. We hear of many children who drop out of school or commit suicide altogether because they lack funds or are deeply troubled. Apart from visitations, we also need to maximize psychosocial assistance of very impoverished and troubled students.
- EXCLUDING JUVENILE OFFENDERS.DepEd has been so amiss in helping children to develop their value system. As a result, many miscreants have come about and have ripped our society apart. Instead of re-educating and rehabilitating them, DepEd barely assists them with their education. It also does not make great effort to reintegrate offenders into society and help them to be accepted by society again while atoning for their sins.
- FORCING TEACHERS TO PASS STUDENTS WHO LAG BEHIND. This is a long-standing practice that needs to be stopped in its tracks. Instead, DepEd must have a remediation program that aims to help students to become better learners and persons.
- FORGETTING TO CONSULT STUDENTS AND PARENTS ON CERTAIN MATTERS.DepEd, forgive me, but you have never ever consulted students and parents publicly on matters because you think you know everything. Look what hubris and denial have done to you!
Secretary Briones and company, please change before it’s too late. You may vehemently deny some of your atrocities, but only God will determine whether your actions and thoughts are sincere or just fronts for your ineptitude.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email.