Gatchalian eyes probe on content of DepEd lessons for distance learning

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is eyeing a Senate inquiry on the content of lessons in the Department of Education distance learning program.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian made the statement Friday after the DepEd TV drew flak for grammatical and typographical errors in some of its episodes.

The department had earlier started the test broadcast of DepEd TV episodes on State-run Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC-13) and Solar Learning. However, photos from a Grade 8 lesson went viral as netizens slammed what some described as “painful” errors in the lesson.

Though DepEd already acknowledged the errors and vowed to make improvements on its TV broadcast content, the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture chief stressed quality control should not be compromised amid the rush to make learning resources available when classes open.

“We’ll probably have another hearing on the content aspect of distance learning because quality control is very important,” Gatchalian said in an interview.

Since the government is resolute to open classes despite the logistical restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DepEd should ensure the delivery of quality education.

“Mahalagang tutukan natin kung paano masisigurong dekalidad ang edukasyon na natatanggap nila kahit na sila ay nasa mga tahanan nila (It’s important that we make sure students will get access to quality education even though they are studying in their respective homes),” he added.

The senator reiterated that television is a viable tool for distance learning, especially for those who have no available Internet connectivity.

Citing a study of Dataxis, a global firm specializing in telecom and media business, Gatchalian said the number of Filipino households having television is expected to increase from 18.7 in 2019, to 20.7 million by 2024.

Television, he said, can be helpful for parents especially since not all can teach their children at home because some of them have not completed schooling.

Teachers can guide learners through recorded lessons for television, while parents can ensure that their children are focused on studying.

Gatchalian noted that some local government units (LGUs) have partnered with local television stations to broadcast recorded lessons.

He said the local cable service provider in Luna, Isabela provided two channels for the province’s "TV-Eskwela" with one channel to be used for elementary while the other will be for high school learners.

Isabela City in Basilan, he added, forged a partnership with a local cable service provider to put up "TELEdukasyon."

Under this partnership, parents will just have to pay for the P350 subscription fee monthly, which gives them access to three channels dedicated to distance learning.

The local cable service provider in Isabela city waived the P1,500 cable installation fee to help ease parents’ woes on additional fees, the senator said.