Module mistakes to cost DepEd secretary graft charges

MAPANDAN, Pangasinan: Owls and ostriches are birds, but the Department of Education (DepEd) evidently thinks that they are one and the same feathered animal on Planet Earth.
For the gaffe — according to the Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Crime, Illegal Drugs and Gambling Inc., based in Pangasinan — Education Secretary Leonor Briones is liable for graft.

l - ‘Owl an ostrich, L is for rabbit’
NO KIDDING Two errors in modules for public elementary-school pupils in Pangasinan have been pointed out by parents of the learners. Honest mistakes? A non-government group in the province does not think so. PHOTOS BY JAIME G. AQUINO

The nongovernment group, headed by Prof. Salvador Singson-de Guzman, cited Briones’ alleged negligence for the blunder.

The group now plans to file criminal and administrative charges against the DepEd secretary and other officials for their failure to check grammatical and factual errors in learning modules before they were published and distributed to parents of pupils in public schools.

“Nakakahiya. At talagang nabuwisit ako sa nakita kong kamalian sa modules na ginagamit ngayon ng ating mga mag-aaral sa elementary dahil imbes na makapag-aral silang mabuti, masasanay sila sa maling modules na ibinigay ng mga guro (It is shameful. And I was really mad upon seeing the mistakes in the modules that are now being used by our elementary-school learners because the pupils will now be taught erroneous grammar and facts given by teachers),” Singson-de Guzman said.

He pointed to two glaring mistakes in the modules: “’L is for rabbit’ and ‘O is for Ostrich,’ but the picture is that of an owl. What can you expect if these erroneous words will be put in the mind of the children?”

The parents of the pupils discovered the mistakes and immediately posted them on their Facebook accounts.

Under online learning, instituted by the Education department, they guide their children in their lessons, with the progress of their studies monitored by their teachers.

A mother, who also posted the errors on her Facebook account but who requested to remain anonymous, told The Manila Times that she saw the mistakes when her son pointed to a picture on the module, where an owl was identified as an ostrich.

“Hindi lang iyan ang aking napansin na pagkakamali sa modules dahil marami pang mali ang spelling na dapat ayusin ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon. Kung ipagpapatuloy namin na gamitin ito, kami na ang bahalang magtama ang kamalian (That was not the only mistake I noticed because there are also misspelled words that the Department of Education should correct. If we are to use the modules, we will do the corrections ourselves),” she said.

Singson-de Guzman said Briones and other officials are liable for the errors, and they should be prosecuted for graft and corruption and grave misconduct because they had failed to protect the interest of education in the country.

Funds that were spent for “this embarrassment,”according to Singson-de Guzman, should be accounted for by the Education secretary and the officials.

“I will volunteer myself to file the charges against Secretary Briones and other responsible officials of the DepEd, who facilitated the release of the funds for publishing and printing the modules if nobody can do it in order to save our country from shame,” he also told The Manila Times.

Teachers have complained to De Guzman’s group that copies of the modules that they had received were insufficient , forcing them to spend their own money to photocopy the modules.

“When my fellow group members made the rounds of schools in Pangasinan, they found that funds of Parents and Teachers Associations were spent for photocopying without the knowledge of the teachers. This is also graft and corruption. This is malversation,” he said.

Singson-de Guzman added that five teachers from San Carlos City Schools Division Office under Superintendent and Dr. Lourdes Servito , 74 teachers from Pangasinan 1 Schools Division Office under Dr. Shiela Marie Primicias, 64 teachers from Pangasinan 2 Schools Division Office under Dr. Danilo Sison and 55 teachers from Dagupan City Schools Division Office under Maria Ligaya Fernandez confirmed that they were verbally instructed by their school principals and school heads to reproduce the modules using their own money because there were no funds available for it.

These teachers said they also used their own money for transportation in distributing the modules to their pupils in far-flung barangay (villages) within their jurisdiction.

Also requesting anonymity, they added that they would be willing to prove their grievances if Briones wanted to investigate their complaints.

Ramon Mendoza, a parent and president of the Federated Parents and Teachers Association, said the Education secretary herself was not really performing as the DepEd chief.

Mendoza added that he suspects that in Briones’ stead stands another person, whom he described as a “very old woman already.”

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