Some 22.3 million students are enrolled in public schools for the school year 2020-2021.
So said DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio during the House Committee on Appropriations briefing on DepEd’s budget but some students will have to share self-learning modules (SLMs) at the ratio of one module to two to four students.
The module-to-student ratio is not 1:1. Worse, these modules presently cover only 40% of the needed competencies
DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla later said that P35 billion is needed to achieve the 1:1 module-to-student ratio. For 2021, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only allotted P15 billion for the procurement of modules.
SAGIP Rep. Rodante Marcoleta warned the education officials that not only is DepEd violating RA 8047 the act providing for the establishment of the book publishing industry, a national book policy and a national book development plan, but has exposed an anomaly.
The teachers are tasked to produce and reproduce through Xerox.
Of the P15 billion, P9.7 billion has already been spent and the supply had not yet been satisfied.
As for the demand, the department would have only spent P1 billion to publish books that can better withstand student sharing. Xerox copies can easily be damaged, mutilated or crumpled proving useless to the next user.
Teachers have also started requesting for the purchase of Xerox machines.
Marcoleta cautioned DepEd from using the Covid-19 pandemic as excuse for the issuance of the modules for it was the pandemic that led to the discovery of the anomaly.
DepEd is the fourth in President Duterte’s cabinet to have been questioned for possible graft and corruption scandals, following the Department of Labor and Employment under Silvestre Bello III, Department of Health/ PhilHealth under Francisco Duque III and Department of Environment and Natural Resources under Roy Cimatu.