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Infra damage to schools: P10.4 B lost to howlers

Malaluan said the DepEd has funds for ‘immediate clean-up’ and ‘minor repairs’ that can be downloaded to damaged schools.

Hananeel Bordey

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The recent typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” have damaged around P10.4 billion school infrastructures, an official from the Department of Education (DepEd) said.

During a Senate hearing on Friday, senators inquired about the damage brought by the recent typhoons that hit Southern Luzon.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan cited data from the agency’s Disaster Risk and Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), showing that 1,982 schools were damaged by typhoon “Rolly” alone.

Of the 1,982 schools, 1,746 are located in Region V or the Bicol Region.

“In total from ‘Rolly,’ infrastructure damage alone is about P6.6 billion as estimated by our DRRMS,” he said.

This, however, excludes non-infrastructure damage which will add another P8.9 billion worth of damaged equipment.

“That does not include the non-infrastructure damage, with respect to school furniture, learning materials, computers and based on the data, that’s even larger than the infrastructure (damage) which is about P8.9 billion,” he said.

Meanwhile, typhoon “Ulysses” has incurred P3.8 billion damage for the DepEd facilities including those ravaged in Region III.

“Because of the flooding nature of ‘Ulysses,’ then the non-infrastructure damage was quite big and the flooding that happened brought considerable damage in school furniture, learning materials, and computers of the schools,” he noted.

The amount for non-infrastructure damage, however, was not provided by the DepEd official during the typhoon “Ulysses.”

Malaluan said the DepEd has funds for “immediate clean-up” and “minor repairs” that can be downloaded to damaged schools.

But the “major repairs” should undergo “engineering validation” and will need funds from the national government.

This will be included in the 2022 national budget already, Malaluan informed the Senate panel.

Senate Basic Education chairman Sherwin Gatchalian, who showed data from DepEd, said the agency should focus on replenishing damaged modules as around P500 million worth of learning materials were devastated by the recent calamities.

“This is what I want to implore (DepEd) so that the learning will continue since a lot of our evacuees have gone back to their homes, a lot of our children have gone back to their homes and what they need to continue with their lives is the copy of their modules,” he told the DepEd officials.

 

Private publishers

To ensure content review of self-learning modules (SLM), the DepEd said it is already in the process of engaging with private publishers in producing the said materials.

This was disclosed by DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan in a Senate hearing Friday.

Gatchalian inquired about the 125 errors flagged in the SLM.

The said number is from DepEd’s data.

The lawmaker said it is “worrisome” as these errors in the modules are difficult to correct unlike in online classes where teachers can easily retract wrong information.

“We acknowledge the issue on quality assurance and with that, we have tightened that at both in the Central Office and field levels,” Malaluan said in response.

“But moving forward in subsequent quarters, we have been talking with the publishing industry for their provision of some SLM to our procurement process,” he added.

These publishing companies they are in contact with are the ones tapped by the private schools in printing DepEd’s learning continuity plan, Malaluan said.

The DepEd official likewise explained that the 125 errors are just minimal compared to the wide array of modules the agency is producing and reviewing to assure its content quality.

He added that some reports on module errors are “taken out of context” especially those posted in social media platforms.

“In social media, there are some that are not taken out of context not actually errors,” he said.

Malaluan asked for the public’s patience as DepEd was pressed for time and was bombarded with voluminous modules to check and review.

“We hope this will mitigate and lessen this quality assurance issue that we acknowledge, Malaluan said.

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