A teachers' group on Wednesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to consider the use of textbooks instead of forcing schools and teachers to reproduce “expensive” modules for students under distance learning this school year.
Less than a week before the opening of classes in public schools on October 5, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) asked DepEd to “stop” the printing of Self Learning Modules (SLMs). Aside from being “very taxing” to teachers and school heads, the group said the printing of modules uses up all the available resources of the schools that can be used for other purposes.
“We adjure the DepEd to use printed books instead of modules and supply the necessary activity sheets or lesson guides - physical or digital,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.
The 30,000-strong group is proposing to DepEd to “halt further production of modules for the second quarter and the rest of the school year” because of the expenses incurred. “Many teachers claimed that they produced their own materials and actually spent for those, thus, accounting for the initial fund allocation is needed,” he added.
Aside from the actual printing, Basas also noted other issues in modules, which has become the main delivery system replacing textbooks, when the DepEd started to implement the K to 12 program.
While modules are considered the “backbone” of distance learning for SY 2020-2021, Basas noted that there seems to be “no standard method” in creating them. “We are supposed to have specialists and experts in the Central and Regional offices who should design them but divisions are being compelled to draw Plan Bs as it becomes more and more clear that the Central Office will not be able to deliver on time,” he said.
Basas also noted the realities on the ground are “embarrassing” since schools produce their own modules and actually raise funds to be able to meet the requirements of DepEd. “Some of our teachers are now resorting to online solicitations— even barter,” he said. “This is outright begging still, many are forced to personally finance these modules, materials that are supposedly state-funded,” he added.
As part of school opening preparations, DepEd had earlier said about P9 billion were already downloaded to schools for the reproduction of modules. However, Basas noted that this is nothing “but a myth” because the shortage in the printed modules compels some schools to resort to “module sharing” wherein two groups of students will share the SLMs.
Citing TDC’s online survey, Basas said that while many schools have ready materials on Oct. 5, these will only last for the “first two weeks up to the first month of the coming school year.”