Palace defends anti-rally DepEd module
In this Sept. 30, 2020 photo, a student prepares for the opening on online classes.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file
Palace defends anti-rally DepEd module
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday defended the Department of Education (DepEd) from criticisms that it is promoting “blind obedience” to the government because of a learning module that discourages students from joining rallies.

The module, which is being used in the media literacy subject of Grade 12 students, contained a photo of protesters and a guide question which reads: “If given the chance, will you join this rally? Why or why not?” The answer written in the module was: “No, because the government has really been doing their best for all the Filipino people and their constituents.”

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed concern over the module, saying critical thinking should be developed among children, especially when it comes to national issues.

Love for country, the CHR said, is not limited to mere obedience but can also be manifested through the collective tackling of issues of the community and the country.

Asked to react to the criticisms against the module, presidential spokesman Harry Roque noted that the module was intended for elementary and high school students.

“DepEd will be in a better position to address this. This is not for older students. This is for younger students,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“If you remember, DepEd supervises elementary and high school. Perhaps DepEd is just saying that elementary and high school students should not attend rallies for now,” he added.

Roque said the right to join peaceful assemblies is guaranteed by the Constitution.

“That’s already in the Bill of Rights. We are just protecting those who cannot make decisions yet on their own, the minors and the children,” he said.

DepEd has been distributing learning modules because the government has barred the holding of face-to-face classes as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

DepEd clarified yesterday that it does not discourage learners from joining peaceful assemblies.

“The Department of Education, as an institution, upholds our Constitution and believes in the principle of freedom of speech and expression,” DepEd said in a statement.

“In this connection, we would like to clarify that a certain learning module that has gone viral on social media creating an impression that the Department discourages students from joining peaceful assemblies is not part of DepEd’s curriculum resources,” DepEd said.

“According to our initial investigation, the module did not pass the conformance review of the Curriculum and Instruction strand of the Central Office. We are still tracing how the material was circulated,” DepEd added.

DepEd urged the public to help them investigate the circulation of the deficient module.

Sen. Manuel Lapid said publishers should be required to allow approved textbooks to be scanned or converted into e-books and other digital format to help address the shortage of learning materials for students under the blended learning system.

Lapid has filed a bill which seeks to amend Republic Act 8047 or the “Book Publishing Industry Development Act,” mandating the publishers participating in the government’s Public School Textbook Program to allow the scanning or conversion into e-books and other digital formats, in part or in full, of their approved textbooks. – Rainier Allan Ronda, Paolo Romero, Evelyn Macairan

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