Gatchalian calls for increased efforts vs. ‘sagot-for-sale’

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Saturday pressed the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and academic institutions to ramp up their efforts against the "sagot-for-sale" (answer-for-sale) scheme and other forms of cheating amid the ongoing implementation of distance learning.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The chairman of the Senate basic education committee lamented that cheating persists among students and parents despite being discouraged by the DepEd and repeatedly flagged in legislative hearings.

"Kung hindi natin wawakasan itong sagot for sale at iba pang anyo ng pandaraya sa distance learning, lalong hindi matututo ang mga mag-aaral. At kapag nalusutan nila ito sa unang pagkakataon, uulit-ulitin na nila ang ganitong pandaraya. Dekalidad na edukasyon ang nakasalalay dito (If we do not end this 'sagot-for-sale and other forms of cheating in distance learning, our students will all the more not learn anything. And if they were able to get away with this for the first time, they will not hesitate to repeat it. Quality education is at stake here)," Gatchalian said in his statement on April 3.

Under the sagot-for-sale scheme, people were hired to answer their children’s self-learning modules. Customers were reportedly from from junior high school, senior high school, and even college students.

Gatchalian said it was also reported some students and parents themselves also offer to work on school requirements for others, such as research papers and essays, other than modules, for fees ranging from P150 up to P500. They use social media to offer their services.

Allowing these practices to continue will produce students who are not only lacking in competencies but also in integrity, the senator warned.

“Ang layunin natin sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon ay matiyak na ang ating mga kabataan ay hindi lamang natututo. Hinuhubog din natin sila para maging matapat, mahusay, at mapagkakatiwalaan (Our goal in continuing education despite the pandemic is to make sure that our children do not only learn. But to also hone them to be honest, excellent and trustworthy)," he pointed out.

Aside from investigating such incidents, Gatchalian also stressed need to capacitate teachers to detect cheating in academic outputs.

He likewise emphasized the importance of investing in assessment technologies to maintain academic integrity in digital education.