WITH the advent of the internet, anybody and anyone can write about anything and have it posted online for everyone to see and read. Their reaction to what was written can be appreciative or disgust depending on the predisposition of the one who was fortunate, or unfortunate enough to read it; or it can warrant further research on the subject matter of the post and thereafter be the object of a lengthy critique or further praise.
This is the online environment we now find ourselves in and we can only do so much to temper what is being written and posted in the internet in order to discover those written expressions that are dispassionate, balanced, and however critical, are keenly objective in its presentation.
But more often than not, we find ourselves the unlucky recipient (due to an inadvertent click of the mouse) of a piece of observation that somehow seems to be utterly devoid of any reasonable basis upon which the observation or comment was made.
That comment was made and posted online through the so-called Yahoo! News by a contributor named Marvin Joseph Ang, who gave his background and credentials as “a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture.” He advocates for a free press and national democracy. It was a good thing that Yahoo! News attached a disclaimer which read, “The views expressed are his own.” The reader is invited to see his full comment here: (https://ph.news.yahoo.com/comment-scrap-sara-duterte-appoint-someone-with-the-right-credentials-to-the-dep-ed-083615193.html)
From the first two paragraphs of his post we find his declaration that the presumptive president, Bong-Bong Marcos will be “entrusting the education portfolio, a government agency beset by numerous challenges, to his running mate and vice president-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio when their term begins”. He then follows up with the statement, “The Philippines, even before the pandemic, has long been in crisis. Despite having the biggest chunk of the annual budget, classrooms are still lacking, the infrastructure needed to cater to a good educational environment is moving crazy slow, and teachers don’t get paid adequately with the kind of workload that is given to them.” Observe that it is the country that he is describing as being in crisis and not the Department of Education which is supposed to be the subject matter of his comment. Such a mistake might have been inadvertent but you would think that someone who claims to be a news writer would have double checked his post before putting it online.
The third paragraph of his comment is a total disconnect from the two previous paragraphs since it begins by providing a positive note stated as follows: “But in 2016, many welcomed the appointment of Leonor Briones as Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd). Briones, a professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines Diliman’s National College of Public Administration and Governance, and lead convenor of watchdog group Social Watch Philippines, is an expert on governance and budget, and the former National Treasurer under Former President Joseph Estrada.”
With that comment this creative writer seems to be making some sort of comparison between the soon to be new Dep-Ed Secretary (presumptive vice president Sara Duterte) and her predecessor Secretary Briones, quite obviously pointing out that the outgoing has the right credentials and expertise than the incoming. But then in his subsequent observation he blames the pandemic as the cause that led to the not so satisfactory performance of the Dep-Ed under Briones, as if accusing nature as the culprit for all of the ailments of the agency and for its failure under the present secretary.
He then adds to his comment, “…and it is even more frustrating, if not extremely infuriating, that her successor will be someone who has no experience in the education sector, much less an educator herself” and finally goes on to observe that, “She will inherit an educational system barely on life support, with the Philippines being the only country in the whole world that has not yet physically opened its schools since the pandemic hit in March 2020. This, on top of the existing challenges, will be an uphill battle and shall require someone with the right credentials and expertise,”,and “The education department is too important for someone with very little to no experience to handle it. And if the incoming administration will insist on this appointment, then it is already safe to assume that it is a lost cause already.”
One cannot but lament how inane the observation was, made as it were by this so-called news and creative writer relative to the situation of the Dep-Ed and those who are leading it as well as those who will lead it in the future.
Anybody worth his salt in local governance would immediately see how flawed the observation was especially when it concerns the situation and operations of the Dep-Ed vis-a-vis the various local government units in the country. If this so-called news and creative writer would only do a little research he would find out that the present educational system and its operation is intimately intertwined with how local government units operate in their respective jurisdictions. This is so because education is already acknowledged as a primordial factor in the success of nation governance. Try visiting any local government unit and you will learn that they have school boards manned by school officials and other public officials whose function is to provide guidance and support, both financially and otherwise, to public schools within their jurisdiction.
For its part the Dep-ed is already implementing its K-12 program which officially began in 2011 with the enactment of RA 10157 having the rationale of a system with the “aim to improve Filipino students’ skills in mathematics, science, and linguistics to further exhibit competence in the global job market.” Dep-Ed also has its Alternative Learning System (ALS) which is, “a parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides opportunities for out-of-school youth and adult (OSYA) learners to develop basic and functional literacy skills, and to access equivalent pathways to complete basic education.”
Finally, is the Dep-Ed as claimed in the comment in dire straits? Not really it only found itself in a difficult situation due to the pandemic which limited its full capabilities. However it has already adapted effectively under the new normal and is already preparing for a blended type of teaching system in engaging our learners.
So will the Dep-Ed be in good hands under the helm of the presumptive vice president? Well outgoing Secretary Briones believes so.