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Letters to the Editor

DepEd urged: Focus first on correcting textbook errorsc

/ 12:00 AM June 24, 2017

I recently discovered a Grade 3 science learner’s material that is written in Tagalog and which is full of errors. It is written in this book—an incredibly stupid five times—that water is the liquid to be found inside a thermometer. That water kept overnight inside the freezer will still be in liquid form the morning after. That “the retina is like a curtain that covers the eye.” This book also implies that mothballs (naphthalene) will undergo an observable physical change when exposed to sunlight for 10 minutes. This 185-page “Kagamitan ng Mag-aaral Tagalog” has 317 errors, or an average of 1.7 errors per page.

I’ve also seen the same DepEd-published Grade 3 science textbook written in Ilocano. Even in the Ilocano version, the implications and inferences are wrong: “Paliiwen ti naburbor a naphthalene iti platito 1 ken platito 2 iti las-ud ti 10 a minuto. Ania ti epekto ti pudot iti naphthalene?” “Ikabil ti tasa a plastik iti freezer iti agpatnag. Ikkaten ti tasa a plastik manipud iti freezer. Rukoden ti temperatura ti liquid a danum iti tasa.” Because this Grade 3 science learner’s material, whose original is written in English, is also translated into 19 other regional dialects such as Bikol, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Maranao, Pangasinan, Sinugbuanong Binisaya and Waray, the 317 errors are, therefore, replicated over and over again, to be permanently imprinted onto the minds of public school students in all regions of the country for all eternity.

The Department of Education violates Republic Act No. 8047 (“Book Publishing Industry Act”) when it publishes and allows private textbook publishers to print these learner’s materials. It violates the higher laws of ethics and morality when it allows errors to be included in these learner’s materials to such an extent that they do not serve any purpose but to miseducate poor public school students. The production of error-riddled textbooks must be seen by all for what it is—a social, moral and criminal offense.

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Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa). There is deceit when the act is committed with deliberate intent while there is fault when the wrongful act results from negligence, lack of skill, imprudence or lack of foresight. Many of the DepEd-published learner’s materials remain uncorrected even after I’ve already identified and publicized the errors. Those errors have, therefore, become deliberate and intentional. The negligence and the lack of writing and editing skills of those who were involved in the making of these defective textbooks constitute fault.

While stupidity itself is not a crime, not correcting the wrongful act that has been pointed out to you when you can certainly is. Why isn’t anybody else bothered and incensed by the presence of so many errors in so many of our textbooks? This abomination appears in one of them: “CATHOLICISM CONDONES HOMOSEXUALITY.” Is that a simple mistake arising from simple stupidity?

Should the DepEd not first concentrate its tremendous resources toward rectifying the errors and mistakes that infest many of our public school textbooks instead of nonchalantly and cavalierly wasting the people’s money on highly questionable orders and purchases?

ANTONIO CALIPJO GO, academic supervisor, Marian School of Quezon City, sickbooks_togo@yahoo.com

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TAGS: DepEd, Inquirer Opinion, Tagalog
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