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DepEd’s Briones should rethink her threat

TDT

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By this time, many people are aware that the books and learning modules distributed to public school students by the Department of Education (DepEd) are “sick,” which means they contain large volumes of factual, grammatical and clerical errors.

Unless those errors are duly corrected, they will mislead and misinform any pupil who uses those “sick” materials.

In terms of the quality of education, those “sick” materials distributed by the DepEd widen the divide between graduates of public schools and their counterparts in the private school system.

The “sick books” distributed by the DepEd have been around for a long time and DepEd authorities refuse to address the problem.

On the other hand, the “sick learning modules” were distributed only this year to supplement the so-called “blended learning” online system currently being implemented by the DepEd.

It’s basic.

Before a book or a learning module reaches the printer, it should be thoroughly reviewed for errors.

This basic standard becomes particularly important when taxpayers’ money amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos is spent on those books or learning modules.

Anything short of that standard is an inexcusable waste of public funds, akin to corruption under Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In other words, if DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones had done her job dutifully by ordering a thorough review of those “sick” publications before approving their printing and distribution to public school pupils nationwide, the future of Filipino public school pupils would not have been compromised, and taxpayers’ money would not have been wasted.

Remember, during these trying times of COVID-19, the government needs to spend public funds prudently.

The volume of errors in the DepEd’s latest “sick books” and “sick learning modules” has been so overwhelming that netizens are talking about them in social media.

Several netizens discovered multiple-choice type questions where none of the answers to choose from is correct.

Others noticed a reference to the color red as a shape instead of as a color.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio himself admitted at least 41 errors in a “self-learning” module.

That’s very alarming. Since it is a “self-learning” module, there will be no teacher to tell the pupil about those errors.

In the end, the pupil is misled into believing that everything stated in the “self-learning” module is true.

The least Secretary Briones should do is to admit gross negligence; find out who among her subordinates failed to carry out a thorough review and proofreading of those “sick books” and “sick learning modules;” fire them; and have them charged under the anti-graft law.

Instead of doing that, Briones resorted to threatening her critics with lawsuits for cyber libel.

According to a recent news report, Briones announced that she is seeking the help of the Department of Justice to identify persons “maliciously” blaming the DepEd for publishing self-learning modules that contain errors.

Briones said some of the modules containing spelling and grammar errors and exposed in social media were not published by the DepEd central office, but by its division and regional units.

That has got to be the flimsiest excuse ever given by a Cabinet secretary.

Even assuming that DepEd division and regional units published those “sick learning modules,” that does not excuse Briones from doing her job properly.

As DepEd chief, Briones is expected to make sure that those “sick learning modules” were properly reviewed and proofread before they are published and distributed to public school pupils.

Take note that Briones said that only “some” and not all of the “sick learning modules” were published by DepEd division and regional units.

If that is so, who published the rest of the materials? Briones is conveniently silent on this.

Briones has no legal basis to sue her critics for cyber libel.

She is a public official and her role in the ongoing criticism about those “sick books” and “sick learning modules” is a matter of public interest.

Actually, Briones should be the one sued, but for corruption.

Those “sick books” and “sick learning modules” are products of gross inexcusable negligence, which resulted in the wastage of millions of pesos in public funds.

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