Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday sought for a more rigorous quality assurance process to make sure that all distance-learning materials to be released by the Department of Education (DepEd) are of better quality.

gatchalian - Gatchalian seeks rigorous quality assurance process for DepEd’s distance learning materials
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

While the DepEd has put up its “Error Watch” to monitor errors in its learning materials, Gatchalian said it is more important to ensure that any errors in the distance learning modules have been rooted out and rectified from the start of the process.

The senator warned that sharing learning materials filled with erroneous lessons and correcting them afterwards could increase confusion among students.

“Sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa panahon ng pandemya ng COVID-19, hindi lamang ang paraan ng pagtuturo ang dapat nating tutukan (As we pursue education even in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic, we should not only focus on the manner of teaching),” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Basic Education, Arts, and Culture.

“Kailangang siguruhin din natin na tama ang mga araling itinuturo natin sa ating mga kabataan. Sa pagsuri natin sa bawat aralin, ang kaalaman ng mahigit 22 milyong mag-aaral ang nakasalalay, (We also need to make sure that the materials being used in teaching our children are correct. The knowledge of more than 22 million school children are at stake here),” Gatchalian said.

Aside from the self-learning modules, he noted that television episodes of some lessons, including those used for test broadcasts of DepEd TV, earlier went viral on social media and drew flak for containing errors.

Gatchalian suggested that DepEd strengthens its collaboration with volunteers and the academe in the regional and division levels since most of the errors come from field units.

The DepEd had earlier reported that from October 12 to 20, its Error Watch initiative has monitored 41 errors in self-learning modules, 27 of which came from those developed by field units.

According to DepEd, these locally developed modules did not pass through the central office’s quality screening. The agency, likewise, reported that some errata were already issued and that it is tapping “third party expert SLM conformance reviewers” from volunteers and the academe.

Gatchalian said it is imperative that all efforts to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic should include good investment in quality learning materials.

He also said it is very important that the Philippine education sector improve its ranking in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) where the country ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension, and second lowest in Science and Math out of 79 countries.

The lawmaker also said he believes that his push to increase centers of excellence for teacher education nationwide will also help in the creation of quality learning materials.

Gatchalian had earlier disclosed that he is eyeing the creation of more centers of excellence that will boost the quality of education and training for the country’s aspiring teachers.

Under Republic Act No. 7784, which formed the Teacher Education Council (TEC) to improve teacher education in the country, the senator said one of the functions of a center of excellence is to serve as a teacher resource center for the development of curricular and instructional materials.

“The government should be proactive in looking for and promoting these centers of excellence which, in effect, will attract the best teachers to go to those centers of excellence,” he said.

“If the government will not be proactive, those centers of excellence will not grow and increase,” Gatchalian said.

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