Author Topic: Opinion: A Lot of Hot Air  (Read 7313 times)

Joe Carillo

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Opinion: A Lot of Hot Air
« on: December 02, 2023, 10:57:48 AM »
A Lot of Hot Air
By Antonio Calipjo Go

The Department of Education’s pilot implementation of its “revised and recalibrated” Matatag Curriculum started last September 25 in 35 public schools from seven regions of the country. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers has appealed to the DepEd to stop implementing what in its estimation is “a premature and experimental program that would only treat the students of the arbitrarily selected public schools as nothing more than guinea pigs, as the process of revision of the former curriculum did not undergo an open, democratic, and genuine consultation with education stakeholders.”

In the National Capital Region, only five public schools in Malabon were selected. Is this not discriminatory, given that the students of these schools will have no choice but to serve as laboratory rats to test whether the new curriculum will work or not? Why were public schools in the more sophisticated cities of Manila, Makati, and Quezon not included in the pilot test? As a parent, how would you feel if it was your child who will be used in an experimental and exploratory excursion into something that has never been tried and tested?

Jocelyn Andaya, director of the Bureau of Curriculum Development, even had the temerity to boast that “The introduction of the new curriculum is a significant milestone in transforming the Philippine basic education system. We decongested and reduced the number of learning competencies from 11,738 to only 3,664, for a reduction of 70%.” This means that the Matatag Curriculum will be teaching only 30% of what students are supposed to be learning!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the DepEd implemented the curriculum that it called “The Most Essential Learning Competencies” in response to the challenges and restrictions of conducting online classes in the public schools. The number of learning competencies in the MELC was reduced from 14,171 to 5,689.

In-person classes in public schools started in November 2022. What then is the logic behind the decision to now reduce the learning competencies from 11,738 to just 3,664? When you take away 70% of what students are supposed to take up, what is left for public school teachers to teach? What will be left for public school students to learn? Paano naging “matatag” ang isang bagay na ampaw at walang laman? Ang hungkag ay hindi matatag! (What’s empty and weak is not stable and strong!)

How can the DepEd now say that its reckless and irresponsible act of spaying, neutering, and castrating the curriculum is an onward, forward, and progressive development? The new curriculum practically ensures that more public school students need not learn as much as before or as much as they ought to in order to pass on to the next higher grade level. This will only exacerbate the dead-serious problem of mass promotion in the public schools and we will only be promoting and graduating more and more least-deserving students as the years go by, in effect producing progressively weaker and weaker breeds of Filipinos who, having been miseducated and maleducated, are therefore subnormal, substandard, and subpar.

“Intensified Values and Peace Education” is highly touted by the DepEd as being the focus of its new Matatag Curriculum and yet, pronouncements coming from Education Secretary Sara Duterte belie these otherwise noble intentions. She herself admitted that her Department, using the Php150 million confidential funds allotted to her as Education Secretary, had been monitoring its own personnel, students, teachers and educators in connection with the purported recruitment activities of the New People’s Army in public elementary and secondary schools.

She justifies her actions by saying that “Whoever opposes my confidential funds is opposed to peace. Whoever is opposed to peace is an enemy of the people.” She must be forgetting that people still remember how, when she was still the Mayor of Davao City in 2011, she punched and pummeled a court sheriff who was only implementing a court order to demolish houses in a disputed property.

During an interview with his “spiritual” adviser Apollo Quiboloy on the SMNI television network, Secretary Sara Duterte’s father, former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, threatened the life of a sitting lawmaker of Congress, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, by saying: “The first target of Inday Sara’s intelligence fund would be you, France (Castro). I want to kill all you communists!” Last October 10, he publicly admitted that he spent his own intelligence funds to carry out extrajudicial killings in Davao City when he was still its Mayor.

You will not find a more unpeaceful, quarrelsome, hostile, and antagonistic pair of public officials like this father-and-daughter team anywhere else in the world. I shudder to think about what values Sara Duterte’s Matatag Curriculum will be promoting and propagating to educate our children! In the end, who will answer for the long-term damage and harm this hasty and haphazard policy of the DepEd will do to our children and our nation?

The DepEd should instead focus on addressing the Learning Crisis that currently grips the entire country by (1) stopping the practice of mass promotion in public schools; (2) making sure that public elementary school students are able to read and understand simple English words and sentences before they graduate in Grade 6; and (3) serving as role models to the children of this nation by living lives that show, reflect, and highlight the values of goodness, kindness, benevolence, and compassion.

This commentary was provided by Mr. Antonio Calipjo Go to the Forum, to a Philippine daily newspaper, and to several other recipients in reaction to the Department of Education’s pilot implementation starting last September 25 of its revised and recalibrated Matatag Curriculum  Mr. Go, a retired academic supervisor of the Marian School of Quezon City, is an advocate of good English usage who has been waging a crusade against badly written English-language textbooks in the Philippines for many years now. Several of his no-nonsense critiques and personal essays have appeared in the Forum over the years.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2023, 01:07:44 PM by Joe Carillo »