Seriousness of DepEd textbook review doubted
The crusader against error-riddled textbooks issued by the Department of Education (DepEd) will only be convinced that the agency means business in its ongoing textbook review if and when he “sees the proof that they corrected correctly.”
Antonio Calipjo Go, academic supervisor of the Marian School of Quezon City in Sauyo, Novaliches, Quezon City, is referring to the comprehensive review of textbooks and learning materials of the K-12 curriculum announced by Education Secretary Leonor Briones sometime last August.
Go is credited for exposing the “Banana Rice Tereces” mistake in the Grade 7 MAPEH in Action textbook.
He questions the employment of teachers in the review, asking if they have the needed proficiency to identify errors and come up with precise corrections for these.
Go also asked if the DepEd had the capability to validate the recommended corrections.
Cordillera Administration Region (CAR) Regional Memorandum 357, series of 2018, dated Oct. 15, 2018, states that the reviewers at the division level are “preferably learning area supervisors or teachers.”
The memorandum states that the review will be done first at the division level, with the output to be validated and consolidated at the regional level before submission to the Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR) of the DepEd.
Go said that the proper process would have been to have had the manuscript reviewed by competent educators before printing because after printing, it would be much better to “rewrite the entire book or have another textbook call.”
He expressed doubts that the review would end in the correction of the textbooks because of the money involved as the questioned books would be pulled out and new copies would be printed.
Go cited as example the case of the Araling Panlipunan Grade 3 textbook, which has 1,300 errors. It was printed during the past administration, but it was reprinted by Secretary Briones without correcting the errors because copies were needed, he said.
He said that he complained to the Commission on Audit about the reprinting of the uncorrected textbook, but, so far, nothing had come off it.
Go also said that for the miswriting of Banaue Rice Terraces as “Banana Rice Tereces” in the MAPEH in Action for Grade 7, which he described as one of the worst errors he had ever come across in his 24-year crusade, the publisher wanted to pull out the millions of books, but the final decision was to just come out with an apology to the schools because of the cost.
Go said that correcting just one error costs millions.
Based on Memorandum 357, the review was in response to mounting feedback from the public coming through social and mainstream media regarding detected errors in DepEd textbooks and learning resources.
An attachment of the memorandum revealed that 334 textbooks and learning materials for Grades 1 to 10 issued by the DepEd since 2012 were distributed to the 17 regions for review at the division level and then at the regional level. Nine Grade 4 books were assigned to the Cordillera.
This correspondent learned from DepEd-CAR Education Program Supervisor for Curriculum and Learning Management Ethielyn Taqued that all nine textbooks and learning resources contained errors in content and print.
She said that some serious errors were found in the Araling Panlipunan, Science and Edukasyon sa Pagpakatao textbooks, but declined to disclose these, saying she needed clearance from the regional director first.
Go criticized the DepEd for not being open to the public regarding the ongoing review.
He said that the subject of the activity being a long-standing problem, the DepEd should have adequately publicized it, so that the people would know it was doing something about the matter and to be transparent about the expense of more millions of pesos for the correction of errors that were preventable.
This correspondent sought more details on the activity and likewise the reaction of the DepEd to the comments of Go, but Undersecretary for Finance-Budget and Performance Monitoring Annalyn Sevilla, who the BLR identified as the right official to speak for the agency on the matter, declined to answer the email albeit her office duly acknowledged the same.**Estanislao Albano, Jr