Briones urged: Look closely into DepEd Order 52
Fr. Randolf Flores of the Divine Word Seminary asked Education Secretary Leonor Briones to help small alternative learning centers (“Next DepEd sec urged: Help alternative learning centers,” Opinion, 6/23/16).
The alternative learning system is a parallel learning system intended to provide disadvantaged youths and adults, who may not have been able to pursue formal education in their time, the opportunity to study anytime and anywhere through basic literacy and continuing education programs. Such is Briones’ belief in the importance of the program that she is seeking an additional budget of P45 billion to expand it.
Briones, a former national treasurer, educator and lifelong advocate of fiscal transparency in government, is a welcome wind of change and many are hoping she will bring about the much-needed positive and meaningful sea change so that the Department of Education can deliver the greatest good to the greatest number of this nation’s millions of young and old learners and students.
But Briones should look into the real motives behind the recent reorganization of the DepEd via DepEd Order No. 52, which was issued Oct. 30, 2015, with the approval of the Department of Budget and Management. This resulted in the dissolution of the Bureau of Elementary Education, the Bureau of Secondary Education and the Bureau of Alternative Learning Systems, replacing them with three new agencies. The Bureau of Alternative Learning Systems, one of the casualties, has been replaced by the Bureau of Learning Resources.
How many are aware of the massive restructuring done at the DepEd? Apparently, very few. Indeed, so few that even Briones herself isn’t aware that what she is envisioning to be her flagship project had been sunk in October 2015!
If the intention for establishing the Bureau of Learning Resources is to ensure that textbooks are made better, then that is a welcome change. However, if it is designed so the DepEd will be free to publish and print its own textbooks, then it is questionable at best. How does that guarantee check and balance and improvement in the quality of the textbooks? If, by this setup, the DepEd now becomes the sole producer, seller and buyer of all public school textbooks, will the all-important process of review and evaluation not be eliminated by the fact that such DepEd-developed materials will now, of course, be automatically adopted and printed, regardless of their quality or lack thereof?
Briones should give utmost priority to solving the problem of defective and error-riddled textbooks used in public schools. A review of all DepEd-published learning materials is in order.
If change is undertaken so as to make what used to be ugly seem more attractive than it actually is, then the change is merely cosmetic and peripheral. If change must indeed come, and be real and true and meaningful, it must be indisputably for the better.
—ANTONIO CALIPJO GO, Marian School of Quezon City, Novaliches, Quezon City
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