Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday renewed his call for the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct a nationwide assessment of all learning materials produced by its divisions and identify and correct erroneous materials before these are even distributed.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, particularly addressed his appeal to DepEd’s Bureau of Learning Resources, following complaints coming from the DepEd-Cordillera which slammed the use of modules allegedly maligning the Igorots’ physical appearance and clothing.
DepEd-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has also called on all education stakeholders to help in creating awareness of indigenous peoples after photos of the wrongful depiction of Igorots became viral online.
“The discriminatory language describing Igorots in some learning materials shows the urgent need for the DepEd to revamp its quality assurance process to ensure that it does not tolerate all indications of discrimination,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“This requires mobilization of all units concerned with learning resource development, including the Curriculum Implementation Division at the division level and the Curriculum Learning and Management Division at the regional level, to ensure thorough vetting of our learning materials,” the senator added.
While the DepEd already recalled the learning materials in question, Gatchalian said reports of errors that have mounted since the beginning of the school year has exposed weaknesses in the agency’s quality assurance process.
The lawmaker pointed out DepEd has found itself in a cycle of printing and distributing erroneous modules that end up drawing criticisms and being recalled.
“This adds to the confusion of our learners who are already struggling amidst the distance learning setup,” he lamented.
“Worse, these exercises which provoke outrage perpetuate stereotypes that have long hounded different sectors of our society,” he further noted.
Gatchalian warned these learning materials that are distributed to students largely reflect the quality of education and culture of the Philippines. “Sinasalamin ng ating mga learning materials ang kalidad ng ating edukasyon kaya dapat nating siguruhin ang lahat ng hakbang upang matiyak na ang mga ito ay wasto at may paggalang sa lahat ng kultura at sektor ng ating lipunan (These learning materials reflect the quality of our education, that’s why we need to carefully look into the process to make sure these show respect to all cultures and sectors of the community),” he said.