The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday reminded teachers of their “professional duty” in preparing learning materials that students will use especially under the distance learning set-up implemented this school year.

09042020 TEACHER ROMERO 1 1 1 1024x683 - DepEd asks teachers to be sensitive, professional in preparing learning materials
(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, in an interview with ANC’s Matters of Fact, issued this reminder following a firestorm of criticism over a learning material mocking actress Angel Locsin.

“When I was a teacher, I do not remember having my principal check my quizzes so it’s really a professional duty of the teacher to prepare assessment questions for the classes he or she handles,” San Antonio said.

While the “accountability to review” normally lies within the school’s department head or the principal, San Antonio explained that it is the teacher who is mainly responsible when it comes to summative tests for the specific class he or she is handling.  

Earlier, photos of a learning material calling Locsin an “obese person” went viral which prompted the DepEd to issue an official response on the incident.

San Antonio clarified that the said item was “not a part of a module” but a part of a learning resource. “It’s a summative assessment prepared by a teacher,” he said.

The 800,000 teachers, San Antonio explained, are required to prepare a set of assessment questions for the students. “It was not used in the whole DepEd, it was just for the group of learners the teacher was handling,” he added.

The said material was made by a teacher in Occidental Mindoro. The DepEd schools division office (SDO) has since apologized and conducted an investigation on the matter.

San Antonio said the DepEd Central Office has been emphasizing the need to be “very sensitive” about social issues.

“Unfortunately, some people have not been attentive to the instructions that we have to be careful about statements that will discriminate [against] certain sectors, that will put to shame certain institutions, and even human beings,” he said.

Aside from being sensitive to issues, San Antonio also reminded teachers to avoid the infringement of copyright laws.

He pointed out that academic freedom is “not absolute” and executed in a way that respects certain norms and laws.

San Antonio explained that teachers at the basic education level cannot invoke “academic freedom” when it comes to developing learning materials for elementary and high school students.

He said this is mainly “exercised” more by educators at the higher institutions like universities and colleges. “We, teachers in the basic education sector, I think, do not have so much freedom to invoke with regards to our choices of resources or design of resources to use,” he said.

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