Reduced printing of SLMs eyed

While the modular approach is the most preferred learning modality for most parents for this upcoming school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) is leaning towards reducing the reproduction of printed modules in the coming months.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during a virtual press briefing on Sept. 9, said that the DepEd is looking forward to reduce reproduction of printed Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) because it is expensive and not environment friendly.

“The dependence on (printed) modular learning has an implication because we are losing so many trees just to produce paper for printing the modules,” Briones said.

This school year, DepEd is implementing a blended and distance learning approach since there will be no in-person classes. Aside from online and TV or radio-based instruction, modular learning is among the alternative learning delivery modalities that schools can use.

Based on the results from the Learner Enrollment and Survey Forms (LESF) gathered nationwide in July, DepEd said that 8.8 million parents preferred modular for their children both in public and private schools.

Modular modality refers to both printed and digital or offline learning materials. This is preferred by most parents and students due to lack of access to technology such as gadgets and devices, Internet connectivity, and other equity issues.

Since the printed modules are preferred, schools are forced to reproduce SLMs for the students. “The demand for paper becomes high and this has a negative effect on the environment,” she added.

Briones also noted that printed modules require a huge amount of budget and logistics considerations. “We have to recognize that this is what they need now but we're hoping it will not be a permanent situation because modular is really expensive in the long run,” she explained.

Recognizing the challenges in printing SLMs, DepEd National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Director Malcolm Garma said that schools in Metro Manila getting ready to move online.

“We are exploring many possibilities of partnership so we could transition from the use of printed modules to more digital platforms,” Garma said. Before the fourth quarter of this school year, he noted that NCR schools aim to gradually reduce their use of printed SLMs.