DepEd chief questions COA’s claims of textbook ‘errors’

Published August 16, 2019, 4:15 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said some of the reported “errors” in textbooks cited by the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2018 report were “matters of usage and editorial preference.”

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (SCREENSHOT / RTVM / MANILA BULLETIN)
Education Secretary Leonor Briones (SCREENSHOT / RTVM / MANILA BULLETIN)

Briones, speaking before the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, questioned the coverage of the audits. She cited as an example the injection of “editorial preferences” in the audit observations – specifically COA’s “corrections” in the choice and capitalization of words and phrases in textbooks.

COA’s 2018 annual report flagged “various errors” in some of the learning materials (LMs) distributed by DepEd. In the same report, and acting on the alleged textbook errors, the audit team “obtained copies of the subject LMs and assessed the gravity of these alleged errors.”

“I will not argue with the grammatical errors, but how about style? How about usage? How about the difference between a common noun and a proper noun?” Briones said.

While there were errors such as spelling, many of the words and phrases pointed out by the COA team as erroneous were matters of usage and editorial preference, she said.

For instance, an observation in a Grade 3 textbook, ‘pandaigdigang daungan,’ which is a common noun therefore these are in lower case, the audit observation is it should be capital ‘P’ and capital ‘D’. “Perhaps I will argue and stake my reputation on the difference between a common noun and a proper noun,” Briones said.

Briones said DepEd has already taken note of errors and deficiencies found by the audit team. DepEd’s Bureau of Learning Resources has conducted a series of workshops from March to June this year to validate the comments and recommendations from the regions on the Kindergarten to Grade 10 learning resources currently in use.

She said DepEd will “revisit the textbook review system to identify areas for enhancement” – such as expanding its authority in view of Republic Act 8047, or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act.

“This is an area, we believe, that the Senate and the rest of the legislation can be of help because the law, passed by two or three administrations ago, has certain conditions and complicates the issue – makakatulong talaga kung i-review itong batas na ito,” she said.

Read more: DepEd to issue ‘notes to teachers’ to correct errors found in textbooks, learning materials