DepEd thanks Grade 5 student for pointing out module depicting gender bias; says review and revision underway

Published March 31, 2021, 10:33 AM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A Grade 5 student in Polomolok, South Cotabato earned praise from the Department of Education (DepEd) for calling out the attention of the agency regarding a module which depicted gender bias.

(Photo from Michael Jess Lapid)

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, in a statement issued on March 30, lauded the student and reiterated the efforts of the agency when it comes to providing gender-responsive basic education to all Filipino learners.

“We are also thankful to the Grade 5 student from Polomolok, South Cotabato who personally wrote a letter to the Department to look into a locally-developed module depicting gender bias,” San Antonio said.

San Antonio was referring to Miguel Lapid, a Grade 5 student from South Cotabato’s Polomolok town. The student sent DepEd a hand-written letter calling the attention of the agency regarding the module in question.

Lapid pointed out an activity in a module asking students to choose words that would describe a man and woman. On the answer key, choices for men include “malakas” (strong) and “matapang” (brave) while for women, the choices were “iyakin” (cry baby) and “mahinhin” (modest).

In his letter, Lapid said that this is “oddly gender biased since some males aren’t strong and tough but some females are.” He also pointed out that women “aren’t fragile [and] in fact, many are strong and brave.”

The student also argued that being a “male doesn’t automatically make you a brave and tough guy [because] lots of males are easily frightened and tend to cry a lot.”

The photo of the module and the student’s letter was posted by his father, Michael Jess Lapid.

Meanwhile, San Antonio noted that this incident is “proof that our learners, parents, and personnel are indeed engaged in their respective roles in advocating zero-tolerance against any form of gender discrimination in the community.”

Despite this incident, San Antonio maintained that DepEd remains committed to the continuous integration of gender equality and sensitivity principles in the provision of basic education.

“Along this line, we appreciate the positive support of our stakeholders in upholding these principles in our quest for quality education in the country,” San Antonio said.

Guided by DepEd Order No. 32, s. 2017 or the Gender- Responsive Basic Education Policy, San Anntonio said that the agency “will not tolerate these kinds of lapses.”

San Antonio also noted that the Schools Division of South Cotabato has already convened a meeting of concerned writers, evaluators, and supervisors to “revisit and revise any module not aligned with our policy on gender sensitivity.”

The DepEd Central Office, he added, also continues to monitor and remind its field offices of their functions to “promote gender-equality standards and procedures in their development of learning materials.”