The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines challenged DepEd’s supposed shift of focus ‘from access to quality education’ for being at least 6 years late due to the lack of textbooks for various subjects in nearly all year levels under the K to 12 curriculum. This dismal state of public education, the group argues, speaks of the state’s neglect.

The teachers’ federation has documented nationwide reports of DepEd’s failure to provide textbooks for the following subjects: MAPEH for Grade 1; Araling Panlipunan (AP) for Grades 2 to 7, 9, and 10; Science for Grades 5 & 6; Filipino for Grades 6 to 8; Math for Grades 6 to 8 and Grade 10; and Grade 11 textbooks for General Academic Strand (GAS), Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS), Accountancy and Business Management (ABM), and Techincal, Vocational and Livelihood-Shielded Metal Arc Welding (TVL-SMAW). Teachers have also reported that other learning materials and even teachers’ manuals are unavailable to them.

“At the onset of Kto12, teachers have protested, among others, the government’s lack of preparation to implement such. But the existence of the same problem six years later is already tantamount to neglect,” said ACT National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez.

ACT said that these shortages force teachers to take on more work by individually looking for their own materials based on DepEd’s curriculum guide, which they will then purchase and reproduce at their own expense despite meager salaries. In other cases, students and parents expend for their own copies of these resources.

ACT recalled a 2018 COA report which bared the millions worth of textbooks which were either damaged or undistributed by DepEd. Php25 million worth of books were disposed of after being destroyed by a warehouse affected by flooding in the area. 2.7 million copies of textbooks, on the other hand, were found to be undistributed, with some due as far back as 2013.

“The agency’s neglect is reprehensible, but even moreso its audacity to showcase ‘21st century’ public schools with iMacs and air-conditioned rooms, which is about the extent of DepEd’s idea of ‘quality education’, while failing to deliver the most basic resources in schools,” hit Martinez. 

Martinez furthered that these shortages are indicative of the bigger problem of resource allocation by the government. She cites that the education sector yearly falls short of the 6% minimum share in the national budget as mandated by the constitution.

“The government therefore must be held accountable for its years of neglect of education. And we shall continue to fight for true quality and accessible social services for the people,” called Martinez.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines is a progressive, militant and nationalist organization of teachers, academic non-teaching personnel and non-academic non-teaching personnel established in June 26, 1982. It is the largest non-traditional teachers’ organization in the country which works for the economic and political well-being of teachers and all other education workers as well as for genuine social transformation.