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Patching the Pages

I wanted to talk about something else. But this issue still keeps lingering around. Protests pop up here and there every once in a while; and every other corner sari-sari store tambay tosses his two cents on the topic. I would like to defend the DepEd modules, but there are really some spots that could not be explained away. The worldwide pandemic has overwhelmed all facets of life and culture that we have forgotten that Kobe Bryant died early this year, there was supposed to be an Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the eruption of Taal caused the dispersal of numerous families out of their homes to probably their relatives in other provinces. I remember there was a memo that directed schools to accept Taal refugees to enrolment even without the necessary documents, presumably in consideration of the possibility of them having been lost due to complications caused by the calamity. As the local Covid-19 crisis climbed to its climax, so did the class of people whom the government referred to as LSI or locally stranded individuals. (Maybe, the first batches did live up to the name, having been caught in places which were not their permanent residences when quarantines suspended the status quo. But when the number grew to thousands for an unbelievably long time, come on. Were there too many transients stranded on March 16, 2020? Apparently, these so called stranded individuals were long-time residents of a given place who for one reason or another, wanted to go to some place else, presumably their home provinces. They were not really “stranded”. They were just wanted to move; possibly to get some free fare.) Regardless of the real reasons, refugees and returnees resulted to new residents, among them primary elementary school children who would have to study among other learning areas, Mother Tongue. Wait, that’s not just one subject, all other subjects except of course for English, Filipino and Science, would be in Bicol )for Grades 1 to 3). Imagine that; a child still adjusting to a new neighbourhood and the modular modality, would find out that his learning module is written in incomprehensible language. This is not a personal presumption. I know of actual cases.

In case there is no school child in your family or the ages of your household habituees range from 17, you have to be aware that families had chosen to get modules because they simply could not access online classes ostensibly due to deficiency and/or difficulty with electronic gadgets and/or Internet connection. Simply put, children choose to study by getting modules because they don’t have anything to access the Internet with. Let me say that in another way. School children study by modules because they can’t watch Youtube. So, what puzzles me is why some modules direct the pupils to access particular links on Youtube and perform activities based on the videos. Okay, for the sake of argument, maybe some of these kids or their family members can find some way to watch Youtube. But for crying out loud, the mere fact that the parents who we asked in surveys months ago, chose modular learning modality, because at least, they would have difficulty to access the Internet, much less to click a link on Youtube. It would have been forgivable if the link was just an option and on the module was a printed transcript of what is on the video, but there isn’t . It’s Youtube or nothing. So what happens with the kids who don’t have Internet? Maybe they asked their big brothers or sisters to help them catch some connection of Internet’ or maybe they just guessed the responses to the questions.

Why are the modules so long? I mean it; they are unbelievably, unfairly and unfriendly lengthy. In the traditional face to face class, a 30 to 50 minute class may finish 1 to 4 pages of a text book, so maybe they could go through an average of 2 pages. If we multiply that number to 5 school days, that would give the child an average of 10 pages. Maybe, that could be extended to somewhere around 15 at the most. So, why is a Grade 2 pupil groping his way through 21 to 35 pages of lessons and activities to make it to retrieval on Friday? Come on. Cut the kids some slack. These are difficult times. Make it easy on them. Let’s just bring home what would usually happen in a classroom.

I’m not saying we tear the pages and throw the pieces away. Let’s come together and patch the pages.

“They dedicated part of the spoil won in battles to repair the house of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 26:27

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