MANILA, Philippines – During the transition from the old curriculum to the new K to 12 program, the Department of Education (DepEd) still procured 16.3 million newly-printed textbooks even if these are "no longer responsive" to the new curriculum.
This was among the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) indicated in its report released Tuesday, March 31.
At the same time, the COA also spotted lapses in the delivery of learning and teaching materials that were compliant with the K to 12 curriculum.
The report showed many materials needed for school year 2013-2014 were delivered during the last quarter of 2013. The late delivery, COA said, affected the goal of a 1:1 student-textbook ratio in the country.
Not fit for K to 12
DepEd procured 16,296,231 textbooks under the 2011-2012 textbook replenishment program but these were delivered during school year 2012-2013, when the enhanced curriculum for grades 1 and 7 was first rolled out.
The materials, worth P608.7 million ($13.66 million)*, were textbooks for grade levels already covered by the first two years of the initial K to 12 implementation. They were intended for use on the year they were delivered.
"[The procurement] resulted in textbooks that could no longer be used in accordance with the intended purpose although eventually used only as reference materials being no longer responsive to the enhanced K to 12 curriculum," the COA report said.
DepEd reportedly said the textbooks were "not obsolete and no longer necessary" as these can still be used in many learning competencies under K to 12.
But the state audit agency called the textbooks "unnecessary expenses" which "brought indiscriminate wastage of government funds" that could have gone instead to the provision of resources needed for K to 12. (READ: Pia Cayetano: K to 12 has to happen at the 'right time')
COA urged DepEd to identify and hold accountable officials responsible for the procurement of the outdated textbooks.
A total of 15,263,111 textbooks worth P509,117,446 ($11.42 million) were procured by DepEd for school year 2013-2014, but only 63% or 9,691,583 textbooks worth P309,796,243 ($6.95 million) were scheduled for delivery to division offices from June to October 2013.
Of the 9 million textbooks, however, only 1,095,584 were delivered before classes started in June 2013. The rest or 8,595,999 textbooks were delivered from July 2013 to January 2014.
The worst delays in deliveries were reported in schools in Cordillera Autonomous Region, Ilocos region, and Cagayan Valley.
But DepEd said these materials, while delayed, will still be used beyond school year 2013-2014, for at least 3 years.
DepEd cited two reasons for the delays:
The department had to contextualize grade 2 learners' materials into 19 mother-tongue languages.
DepEd commissioned writers to develop grade 8 materials, but there were delays in the development process.
Anticipating the delays, the department reportedly provided copies of the learners' materials and teachers' guides ahead of the initial K to 12 implementation. Teachers were also trained to implement the new curriculum and to teach the new materials using prototype lesson guides.
But COA said the procurement "reflects lapses in planning and lack of foresight."
"Thus, it can be said that the lack of preparedness of the agency in the implementation of K to 12 deprived the students their access to quality education," the agency added. (READ: Suspend K to 12? But PH ready for it – Luistro)
To avoid delays in the future, COA said DepEd must plan "adequate and realistic" procurement and delivery timelines when it comes to learning and teaching materials. – Rappler.com
*1 US$ = P44.56