Solon: DepEd ‘circumvented’ law by printing self-learning modules
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) violated the law by printing self-learning modules for distance learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta said Monday.
During the hearing of the House committee on public accounts, Marcoleta said there was a “clear circumvention” of Republic Act No. 8047 or the “Book Publishing Industry Development Act” when DepEd printed the self-learning modules for distance learning.
The Book Publishing Industry Development Act states that DepEd shall “phase out its elementary and secondary textbook publication and distribution functions and shall support the phasing in of private sector publishers to assume these functions.”
“In the audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) found out that the DepEd, in producing the learning materials, clearly circumvented Section 10 and 11 of Republic 8047,” Marcoleta said.
“That law specifically ordered the DepEd to concentrate on curriculum development and to avoid producing, manufacturing, and procuring books. That was a very clear by that particular law. But 26 years later, DepEd is still doing this,” he added.
Marcoleta said that when he pointed out that DepEd is circumventing the law, the department “shifted to modules, thinking that the modules are no longer books.”
The Book Publishing Industry Development Act specifically addressed textbooks and made no mention of modules.
“But the COA also found out that modules and books are similarly situated,” Marcoleta said.
“Kahit na sabihin nila that the modules are 30 pages or below—kasi ang definition ng textbook under the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), kailangan 42 pages yan—but just the same, gumawa rin sila ng learning materials and they called it self-learning materials,” Marcoleta added.
The DepEd has said that as early as 2017, they have called for a thorough review of the Book Publishing Development Act, “which prohibits the Department from developing manuscripts for textbooks, and printing or procuring of such when private publishers are unable to meet the demand.”
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