This week, the Department of Education (DepEd) found itself in hot water after it was revealed that the Schools Division Office (SDO)-Manila has released a self-learning module or SLEM with test items that portrait Vice President Leni Robredo in a negative light.
The loaded questions are included in a module for Introduction to the Philosophy of the Human Person, under the topic “Methods of Philosophizing.” This learning area is one of the core subjects at the senior high school (SHS) level, which means that it has to be taken by all SHS students regardless of their strand and track. A copy of the module has been uploaded on one website back in May 2021
, and this suggests that the module has been in use for two school years already.
It is mind-boggling how a self-learning module with such a not-so-subtle partisan message can end up being disseminated for use by thousands of students. As someone who was appointed as a module writer here in SDO-Quezon City during school year 2020-2021, let me give you a glimpse of how the module-writing process goes for you to understand how lapses like this one can happen.
School divisions typically assign a group of teachers that will create the modules for a particular subject, usually based on the referrals of selected principals and department heads. I, for example, was tasked to write modules for Reading and Writing Skills – another core subject for SHS. From there, the teachers will divide the topics among themselves with a deadline to meet.
Once the teachers are done writing the modules for the lessons assigned to them, they will submit their work to their respective education program supervisors (EPS). The EPS will then assign the submitted module to a subject matter expect – usually a principal or a department head serving under the division.
After the content and language validation process, the module will be returned to the writers if revisions are needed. When the suggested changes have been implemented, the module will be submitted again to the EPS who will then assign it to a layout artist and illustrator.
In this particular instance, DepEd Manila admitted that the module “did not go through (their) conformance review—as it should—hereby placing mechanisms that should be followed in next productions, if any.” It also added that the writer of this particular module has already died.
The writer cannot be solely blamed for this fiasco. His or her superiors, whether at the school or division level, were apparently negligent as well because they gave their sign off to the module’s release even without thoroughly reviewing its content. Someone somewhere obviously did not do his or her assigned job.
PS: For those who do not know, us module writers were not given additional pay for the work we did – not even service leave credits! After finishing our task, we only received certificates from our division as well as from DepEd National Capital Region in recognition for our work.
As a consuelo de bobo, we are frequently told by our superiors that the certificates we get from doing these additional tasks will be helpful eventually if and when we apply for promotion. However, that is not actually guaranteed given how murky DepEd’s promotion process is. So for teachers like me who took on this thankless task, we can’t help but ask, “Is it really worth it?”