By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Education Secretary Leonor Briones directed the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that is tasked to review the effectiveness of laws, rules, and regulations that govern the provision of textbooks and learning resources in the country’s public schools.
Issuing DepEd Memo no. 18 series of 2020, Briones said that the creation of the TWG will help ensure that “learning resources of good quality for use in public schools nationwide are provided in a timely and adequate manner.”
Briones noted that the TWG was created to review how effective the laws, rules and regulations “governing the development and selection, the evaluation of contest, and the procurement and delivery” of textbooks (TXs) and learning resources (LRs).
In the said memo issued to all undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureau and service directors, regional directors and schools division superintendents, Briones underscored that the “provision of learning resources is crucial in the successful implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program.”
However, Briones also noted that “it has been observed that laws, issuances, and agency practice have imposed rigidities or lengthened process that cause major delays in the selection, manuscript development, printing, and delivery textbooks and learning resources.”
The newly-created TWG will be headed by Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio with members coming from related DepEd offices.
In particular, the TWG will review the effectiveness of laws, rules, and regulations governing TXs and LRs on the matters concerning the selection of and prescribing of TXs and LRs; providing criteria and standards for the development of TXs and LRs and evaluation of off-the-shell TXs and LRs and the procurement for the development, printing, and delivery of textbooks.
The TWG was also tasked to suggest or recommend strategies and propose amendments to existing laws, rules, and regulations governing TXs and LRs and conduct an interface workshop to establish a “harmonized terms of references (TORs) among Curriculum and Instruction Bureaus on TXs and LRs.”
Likewise, the TWG is expected to “formulate strategies in providing alternative text-based learning resources in cases that TXs could not be delivered as targeted” and to “perform such as other functions as may be necessary to carry out” provisions of the issued memo or as Briones may direct.
“TWG may engage the services of external consultants to assist in the analysis and crafting of recommendations,” Briones ended.