DepEd commits to deliver 80% of textbooks for Grades 1, 4 and 7 students by July

The Department of Education has committed to deliver 80 percent of textbooks for Grades 1, 4, and 7 by July 2024, in a meeting with the Second Congressional Commission on Education held at UP BGC on February 22, 2024. 

“By July, we’ll have around 80 percent of textbooks [for Grades 1, 4, 7]”, Director Ariz Cawilan of the DepEd Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR), said.

Representatives from the Department noted that the award for successful bidders for textbooks will be issued by March 2024, and issue a Notice to Proceed by April. Only then will the textbooks begin to print. The Department claimed that it had issued a Call for Textbooks last September 2023 – an earlier date than usual. 

In its Year One Report entitled “Miseducation: The Failed System of Philippine Education”, EDCOM 2 flagged that, for Grade 1 to Grade 10, only 27 textbooks have been procured since 2012. “Specifically, since the introduction of the K to 12 curriculum, only Grades 5 and 6 textbooks have been successfully procured”, the report read. 

Textbook procurement underway for Academic Year 2024-2025

The Commission also noted that it has urged that DepEd confirm its strategy for ensuring timely textbook procurement for the upcoming school year in various fora, and that it has recommended DepEd to look into the possibility of procuring books that are already available in the market rather than engaging publishers to develop new ones.

“The previous timeline was about six months for printing and about six months for delivery. So now, they’re saying that in the revised timeline, between April, May, June, July, what used to be one year will now be four months”, EDCOM 2 Executive Director Dr. Karol Mark Yee clarified. 

“You have three months [between April and July] to print eight million books…kaya ba ‘yun? Kasi, coming from the old system where printing takes almost a year plus”, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian echoed. 

Catch–up Fridays not optimal for learning recovery

DepEd’s learning recovery program, Catch-up Fridays, was also probed during the meeting. The Department recently released DepEd Memorandum No. 01, s.2024, last January 12, 2024 devoting Fridays to activities for improving reading skills and comprehension.

“Based on EDCOM consultations, Catch-Up Fridays do not appear to be structured to optimize learning recovery”, Dr. Karol Mark Yee said. “It seems that teachers have not been provided in-depth training on how to conduct effective reading intervention…while reading classes focus on ‘reading’ more texts, they do not necessarily help the students improve their reading skills”, he continued. 

Citing data from the Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA) from Regions IV-B, V, VI, VIII and NCR, more than 60% of Grade 1 and 2 students are not yet reading at the right level, with 4% needing full intervention, and 24% requiring moderate intervention.

The Commission also raised the difficulty of implementing targeted – or “differentiated” – instruction in the Catch-up Fridays sessions it has observed.  “Do you give your teachers the space to do differentiated instruction in the classroom as part of learning recovery?”, EDCOM 2 Commissioner Kiko Benitez asked DepEd. 

“The team of the National Reading Program has already trained our teachers nationwide on the implementation of the National Reading Program on how we handle these learners on different levels”, DepEd Usec. Gina Gonong answered. 

“So the answer is meron? So you have a different program design for students who require moderate intervention versus a reading program for those who need only light intervention?…Pwede pong makita?”, Rep. Benitez requested.

Dr. Yee noted that EDCOM consultations show otherwise. “We know – we’ve visited many schools – that [differentiated instruction] is not happening…If you look at the policy, it’s not explicit to do differentiated instruction. It is not explicit that you group learners by ability”, Dr. Yee noted. 

“The question is: how will we make it so, because until we change the practices, until we institute programs that could possibly move the needle, the reality is we will have homogeneous programs for heterogeneous learners and it’s not going to solve the issue”, he said.


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