EDITORIAL: Irregularities in DepEd

Teachers with a clear conscience need not take offense for what may be described by them as nitpicking, relative to unregulated contributions, and solicitations and error-ridden modules supplied by the Department of Education (DepEd) higher-ups.

Truth to tell school solicitations had long been practiced within the public schools. We can cite some. Education is supposed to be free based on the constitution and relevant laws.

But such policy is more known for having been disregarded or circumvented. Superficially school authorities regularly remind teachers about prohibited donations. But a loophole is readily provided. Fees are made to appear as voluntary contributions via the parents and teachers association.

Brigada Eskewela which is supposed to be a very ideal tool for volunteerism is being corrupted when cash contributions have been allowed as substitute for physical participation or donation in kind. In both situations there are no rules and regulations crafted and issued in order that contributions are duly accounted for. They have therefore the makings of irregularities, given that there are no safeguards to ensure accountability.

As to the defects noticed by sociologically concerned and abreast citizens, the modules are nothing but a revival or perpetuation of corruption within the agency, particularly in awarding contracts for preparation and printing of materials. This practice had long haunted the education department.

There is a very strong possibility that the parties involved in the anomaly are still in operation. Otherwise how come that the defective materials keep on resurrecting. Oft repeated explanations that errors have been committed due to time limitation is not valid.

Textbooks and other printed materials have almost invariably been pockmarked with errors. It is highly probable that contractors who have been awarded the privilege to prepare and print new materials are in collusion with officials led by DepEd bigwigs empowered to award contracts. Otherwise how come that the same issue has over the years kept on haunting the agency.

As to contributions and solicitations, the misplaced response by school officials is actually a cheap defense mechanism. It is recalled that in a not distant past, President Duterte succinctly asserted that donations from the private sector cannot be treated as within the ambit of graft and corruption as after all there was neither bribery nor extortion involved.

It has been overlooked that solicitations initiated by the school teachers are very convenient tools for corruption. Small as the amounts maybe, the consequence sends a very disturbing signal. Teachers are in effect being encouraged to engage in irregularities

The situation is becoming very alarming. Solicitations are being posted online and with no accountability guidelines. It is highly possible that enterprising teachers will go overboard and appropriate for themselves parts of the proceeds. The malpractice promises to become widespread given the prospect that eager solicitors are promised or guaranteed a sort of promotion or higher classification of teaching level.

Quality education is sacrificed at the altar of quantity solicitation. By then we shall be back to square one. Quantity prevails over quality. The gripe that grammatical, spelling and usage lapses are but minor issues sends a very serious message. It means some school teachers need to go back to school for refresher.

Failure to do so means lapses in good manners and right conduct particularly in respect to diligence. The explanation that the only concern is the sound (Phonetics) and not the written form, makes matters worse. Eyes and ears are being disjointed from each other.

It also adopts the very old attitude of pasang-awa instead of aspiring for excellence or at least for the better, over mediocrity.