Questions for Briones, DepED
The Department of Education (DepEd) will be getting P673 billion, a lion’s share of the proposed budget of P4.1 trillion, for 2020.
I urge the two houses of Congress to deliberate thoroughly on whether the sleepy giant that is the DepEd deserves to be given this much money to spend as it pleases. Here are eight questions for Education Secretary Leonor Briones to answer at the forthcoming budget hearings:
1) The DepEd did not publish any invitation to bid in the 11 months from September 2018 to August 2019, which means that it is purchasing all the products and services it needs without the requisite open and transparent public bidding. Is this not against Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act?
2) Why did the DepEd order P1.2 billion worth of science equipment for Grades 1 to 3 when public schools do not have a science subject in Grades 1 and 2? Where did all the science equipment go?
3) Why did the DepEd order P333 million worth of worthless textbooks, the Grade 3 Araling Panlipunan Learner’s Material, which I have shown to contain 1,308 errors? What is the DepEd intending to do with the very expensive lemon that it bought?
4) Eight years after the passage of the K-to-12 Enhanced Basic Education Act, Grade 5 and Grade 6 public school students still do not have textbooks that conform to the new curriculum.
5) Why did the DepEd publish its own textbooks when it violates RA 8047?
6) Why are DepEd-published textbooks full of errors? By trivializing, justifying or denying the errors, is the DepEd intending not to correct them?
7) What is the Bureau of Learning Resources doing? Shouldn’t its job be to ensure that public school textbooks are error-free?
8) Why keep a buffer stock of books when the public school students for whom they were bought don’t have books to use inside their classrooms? Is it not criminal to just allow these books to rot and decay inside the dilapidated and rat-infested warehouses of the DepEd? That is why many public school students cannot read, because it is the rats that are given books to read.
ANTONIO CALIPJO GO
Marian School of Quezon City
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