DepEd admits error in a module that says people with tattoo are criminals

Published November 19, 2020, 5:07 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday confirmed that the module which associates having a tattoo with criminals is quality-assured by the Central Office (CO) and that an “erratum” has been issued related to it.


DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio told the Manila Bulletin that the said module – which demonizes people with tattoos – was “CO quality assured.” He added that the DepEd has already issued an “erratum on this.”  

The photo of the module was posted by singer Lea Salonga on Facebook last Tuesday, Nov. 17. She expressed dismay over the learning material which implies that having a tattoo might be a symbol of being a criminal.

“Okay, someone would need to tell me if this thing is really ok’d by the DepEd. And if so, what kind of BS is this?” an irate Salonga asked.

As shown in the screenshot of the module posted by Salonga, a multiple choice question is asking the learners to determine if: “Ang tattoo ay simbolo ng ________. A. pagiging kriminal, B. pagkaalipin, C. kagitingan at kagandahan, at D. pagiging mababa ng katayuan sa lipunan.” Based on the answer key provided in the module, the right answer was “Letter A.”

San Antonio acknowledged that the answer key was “wrong” and that an erratum has already been issued related to this. He noted that while the specific module was quality assured by the DepEd Central Office, there are still items that “might have been overlooked.”  

This is not the first time that Salonga called out errors found in modules. In October, she also pointed out on social media an illustration showing an owl but was labeled as an “ostrich.”

In a separate post last month, director and film producer Jose “Joey” Javier Reyes also lamented the state of the country’s education system over a module asking students to study rhetoric using the national language.

As a matter of policy, San Antonio said that the errors found in Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) under distance/blended learning are rectified as soon as possible. “Content errors found inappropriate shall be rectified via an issuance from the concerned Regional Director if the SLM is used in the whole region,” he explained.

Without  face-to-face classes this school year, students are under home-based learning through various learning delivery modalities such as printed or digital modular; online distance learning; and radio or television-based instructions.

Regardless of the modality/ies chosen, DepEd said that SLMs remain the “backbone” of distance learning and covers the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs).

However, DepEd admitted that “due to time constraints,” there are some SLMs that did not pass through quality assurance of the CO. “Efforts are to be exerted by the teachers to clarify such errors in succeeding lesson materials or while communicating with the learners and parents,” San Antonio said.

In response to numerous reports about errors found in learning materials, the agency launched its “DepEd Error Watch” initiative last October. It makes use of three platforms for reporting which will validate errors for immediate and proper correction.

Concerns on modules may be reported through 
email: [email protected]; text and Viber message: 0961-6805334; Facebook Messenger: DepEd Error Watch (@depederrorwatch) and Work chat DepEd Error Watch: using the hashtag #depederrorwatch when submitting reports.