The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday clarified that the reported suicide of a student in Tupi, South Cotabato was not because of the self-learning modules (SLMs) issued by the school as part of the distance/blended learning approach used this year.
In a statement issued by DepEd XII Schools Division of South Cotabato, Assistant Schools Division Superintendent and Officer-in-Charge Ruth Estacio confirmed the death of the student.
Estacio said that the SDS “was shocked and saddened to learn about the tragic death” of the student and extended condolences to the family of the victim. “The division and school officials are currently coordinating with law enforcement and the student’s family members for a speedy and impartial investigation on the matter.”
The Investigation Report signed by Cebu National High School Assistant School Principal Judie De la Cruz also confirmed the death of one of its students. It was cited in the report that on Oct. 6, at around 3:00 p.m., the death body of the Grade 11 learner was found inside an old house in Barangay Cebuano in Tupi.
Some reports are attributing the death of the student due to “difficulty” in answering the modules. However, DepEd belied this claim. Citing accounts from the victim’s family and friend, it was reported that that the student “never mentioned that he has a problem on module matters.”
Based on the investigation report, the victim – along with his friend – gathered in his house on Oct. 5 to answer a Math module. “They found difficulty in answering the module but with the help of the Weekly Home Learning Plan, they were able to provide answers,” De la Cruz said.
De la Cruz added that the mother and the aunt of the victim “were provided with proper orientation on how to use the modules” as well as the Weekly Home Learning Plan (WHLP). “Each learner was provided with an avenue to form a group with their classmates since the school conducted community mapping and considered the residences of every learner and made it as a basic in forming its classes,” she added.
It was also cited in the report that when the victim’s uncles handed in the modules back to the school after the incident, the school officials “found them unopened” except for one subject with “answer sheets filled with some answers.”
Meanwhile, the DepEd Public Affairs Service (PAS) confirmed the incident and expressed grief over the death of the student. “This is a very sad incident and that’s the reason why we had psychosocial programs in place,” it said. The agency also reminded that “suicide is a very complicated matter.”
In lieu of the face-to-face classes this school year, DepEd is implementing a distance/blended learning approach wherein the students learn their lessons inside their homes through modules, online, and television and radio-based instructions.