Teachers group disputes DepEd’s readiness for Oct. 5 school opening

Some teachers are forced to “barter” plants or use their own money to be able to produce materials needed to print the modules needed for distance learning.

These are some of the challenges confronting teachers as they dispute the claim of the Department of Education (DepEd) that it is now ready for the school opening on October 5.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that despite the repeatedly announcement of DepEd that it is ready for the Oct. 5 nationwide school opening, teachers on the ground think otherwise. “Sa modules pa lang ay hindi na makatotohanan ang mga ulat (Based on the modules alone, the reports on readiness are not realistic),” the group said.

Apart from being forced to “barter” plants or use their own money to be able to print modules, other problems encountered by teachers include insufficient number of printed Self Learning Modules (SLMs) for the students; teachers complained of being overworked just to make sure that the required number of printed SLMs are completed before the school opening next month.

TDC also alleged that there are certain “violations” committed due to the production of modules. For instance, TDC Chairman Benjo Basas said that some teachers are asked to “write their own modules” while others are forced to solicit funds to buy paper, ink, and even printers.

Amid the continued threat of COVID-19 in the country, TDC said that some teachers also claim that they are being asked to physically report to schools to “print and sort” out materials despite the existing policy of DepEd prohibiting such practice.

“These are all violations according to the policy of DepEd, but teachers are forced to do these and find other ways instead of waiting for nothing,” Basas said.

Given these concerns on the reproduction of modules, TDC is urging DepEd to stop the printing of SLMs for this school year, citing various issues and challenges faced by teachers, among others. “There is a need to carefully study the practicality of using modules before the reproduction continues,” said Basas.

DepEd had earlier reported that over 98% of the printed modules are ready for distribution for the first quarter. But citing reports of teachers from the field, Basas said many schools in various regions and divisions have yet to produce the number of printed SLMs that their students need.

“If the modules for the second quarter are not yet ready, it’s better to stop the printing of modules and consider using available textbooks instead,” Basas said. 

Parents, he added, may also be asked to print the modules instead of relying so much on teachers and school administrators to reproduce the SLMs.