Gatchalian to DepEd: probe ‘sagot for sale’ scheme

Published March 8, 2021, 11:47 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday, March 8  urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediately investigate reports of parents hiring other people to answer their children’s self-learning modules.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian warned these so-called “sagot for sale” scheme would only bring more harm to students as they will bear the brunt of the negative effects of such dishonest practices.

The senators also warned parents that by engaging in this practice, their children’s learning development would be compromised no matter what time frame.

“Huwag naman sanang gawin ng mga magulang iyon dahil kawawa ang mga bata. Hindi natin sila natutulungang matuto sa ganyang mga paraan (I hope the parents will not do that because the children will suffer. We are not helping them learn through that kind of scheme),” Gatchalian said in a statement.

During last Senate hearing where senators tackled updates on Academic Year 2020-2021, Gatchalian cited an earlier report by the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) which pointed to how struggling parents hire someone else—some of whom they find online—to answer their children’s modules.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said he would conduct another hearing to inquire on the methodology of assessing learners’ performance.

He earlier raised doubts on the DepEd’s report that 99.13 percent of the more than 14 million public school students have passed the first quarter.

He pointed out the data submitted by the DepEd excludes data from the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 7, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Gatchalian also pointed out that the scenario in Valenzuela is different and more consistent with the low national achievement scores.

Among Grade 8 learners, he said the average is about 48 percent across different subjects. In Grade 9, the average across different subjects is 51 percent, and 55 percent among Grade 10 learners, way below the passing rate of 75 percent.

Gatchalian said that while he acknowledges that the DepEd’s report is only based on what the regions submitted, there is a need for a better understanding of how learners are evaluated under the distance learning setup.

The lawmaker pointed out the agency’s distance learning system has been hounded by challenges since the government imposed stringent lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of interaction with teachers and reliable internet connectivity has become problematic for parents, teachers and students alike.

“I know this is challenging, but again we need to fully understand the assessment conducted by the DepEd,” Gatchalian said.

“And we also want to see a per subject analysis because we all know that we need to help our students by looking at their weaknesses in different subject matters,” he further said.