Vice President Sara Duterte openly acknowledges that she is not an expert in the Department of Education (DepEd), which is why she frequently consults experts within the department.
She made this statement after the launch of the new K to 10 curriculum, transitioning from K to 12, which involves changes in subjects for both elementary and secondary education, garnering various reactions.
The question arises: Is this for the betterment or will it further hinder education in the country? We will be able to assess that in the coming days if there’s an improvement or not.
However, there are critics opposing the removal of the so-called “mother tongue” teaching method, which some find difficult, but others claim has a positive effect on certain students, allowing them to learn their own dialect.
In the latest turn of events, additionally, DepEd has issued a new directive regarding the removal of decorations, including posters and artworks.
This is based on an interview with a DepEd official regarding the new directive published in Philstar.
“The order is what it is. Take out everything on the wall and let learners focus on their studies. Classrooms and schools should be clean, orderly, and functional,” Duterte said in a statement, read by Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary and spokesman Michael Poa in an interview with TeleRadyo Serbisyo last week.
Duterte issued the statement as several teachers’ groups sought clarification on DepEd Order No. 21, series of 2023 or the implementing guidelines for Brigada Eskwela, which stated that all schools must ensure that “school grounds, classrooms, and all their walls and other school facilities are clean and free from unnecessary artwork, decorations, tarpaulin, and posters at all times.”
“Classroom walls shall remain bare and devoid of posters, decorations, or other posted materials. Classrooms should not be used to stockpile materials and should be clear of other unused items or items for disposal,” the DO No. 21 read.
Over the weekend, the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) advised school heads and teachers “not to take too literally” the DepEd order, adding that the directive may only pertain to “unnecessary posters.”
“We have to understand posters and educational materials really aid in the learning. Studies showed that visual aids really help in the understanding or learning of children,” TDC chairman Benjo Basas said in Filipino.
Poa, however, maintained that all materials on classroom walls must be removed, including visual learning aids, photos of national heroes and past presidents, as well as the artworks of students.
“The directive of our Vice President is … she really wants all the walls bare. She wants classrooms to be clean, orderly, and functional,” he said in English and Filipino in his radio interview.
He added that visual aids might still be used by teachers, but only during their respective classes, pointing out that several subjects are taught inside a single classroom in a day.
Be that as it may, there’s a valid point in this directive, as it seems to be an anti-“epal” campaign by DepEd, but there should be qualifications in place.
For elementary students, visual aids are crucial for faster learning, retention, and familiarization of subject matter. Among these aids are commonly emphasized phrases, such as “honesty is the best policy,” “the youth is the hope of the nation,” names of heroes, and even faces of past presidents.
If these are removed from the walls, the DepEd Secretary shouldn’t be against alternatives. For example, they could be placed strategically to avoid distracting students while teachers are instructing, like bulletin boards or analogous circumstances.
Perhaps the DepEd leadership is focusing on an anti-“epal” campaign targeted at politicians, but it should not extend to the school environment.
The question remains, whose idea is this? If the Vice President and concurrent DepEd Secretary admits she lacks expertise in the education department, were experts consulted for this, or is it merely a product of her own intelligence fund este.. quotient?
Placing important materials on walls is an effective way to assist students’ learning. It serves as a reminder for children’s growth. If they constantly see these materials, they are more likely to remember. It’s a common-sense strategy; even if you’re not an expert, you should know this. So, what’s bothering Tita Inday about wall decors?
Perhaps the DepEd directive should have emphasized the purpose of putting up posters in classrooms, not just allowing teachers to put up whatever they wish.
Actually, I’m quite sure that many teachers down the line were surprised by this DepEd directive because it seems to contradict their customary practices and even the common sense application of effective teaching methods. Why does DepEd suddenly want to leave classrooms bare?
As some students have said, classrooms might become boring with bare walls, and they’re wondering what they’re supposed to see in those spaces. Maybe those who formulated this policy weren’t thinking like children, as the saying goes, “a picture speaks a thousand words.”
Anyway, let’s see what the outcome of this new directive will be. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This week is highly anticipated by those who aspire to enter the world and realm of barangay affairs, including SK affairs.
There’s a positive development in the SK arena due to the anti-political dynasty law, which prohibits SK candidates with incumbent elected officials in their families from running for office up to 2nd degree. Anak, tayay hanggang lolo
That’s why in the past elections, the SK lineup was often incomplete because it was mostly comprised of family members within the barangay.
It’s possible that there might also be a shortage of SK council members now since some family members might enter as barangay officials.
Hopefully, this can also be implemented for barangay officials, so that even at the barangay level, there can be a total reform in terms of political dynasties. The question is, will our legislators have the courage to include the barangay council in the anti-political dynasty law, similar to what’s been done for SK?
To those who dream of becoming leaders in the barangay, good luck, and be prepared for what your fellow citizens are looking for. (Weekly column/Ferdie Brizo/Bicol Peryodiko newspaper)