Weeks after school started this month, students and parents alike continue to be distraught after discovering errors upon errors in modules distributed by the Department of Education. It ranged from math equation errors…:
…to faulty grammar lessons…:
…to downright dirty names that aren’t funny at all:
There have been too many mistakes to neglect, and they have become too big of a deal that even singer Lea Salonga couldn’t let them slide:
Yet, despite how often they have happened, there’s still a distinct line between oversight, and outdated thinking, as seen in these photos of DepEd modules that reek of sexist beliefs and gender stereotypes:
Assigning characteristics, responsibilities, and even toys to either the male or female gender exclusively are very easily the product of an antiquated worldview. People might have been able to restrain themselves if this was the work of just one very conservative person.
But no, it wasn’t, and so we shouldn’t keep ourselves from talking about this.
It takes a village
Have you heard of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? That’s exactly what’s wrong here. More than one person from the education ministry agreed to type up, print, distribute, and discuss this. So to speak, it passed the whole assembly line (if there is one) and made it out there.
These were the modules that took postponing the school opening twice before it was created.
And then there’s the other half of that saying: raising a child. Enlightened folks can simply call these out for the old-fashioned beliefs they espouse, but to the common grade school student, this is nothing more than homework.
Lucky are the students whose guardians are there to assist them in answering these modules, or to teach them about the misguided message of gender stereotypes like this bright Grade 1 student:
But not everyone has the privilege of either having guardians to guide them on their modules, or growing within a household that rejects such stereotypes.
Timing is of the essence
Perhaps the worst thing this issue revealed is how long the education ministry might have been teaching these to children without any of us knowing, much less intervening. The way it seems right now is if it wasn’t for the global pandemic pushing kids to attend school from the safety of their homes, we wouldn’t have discovered that DepEd would willingly teach them these outdated stereotypes.
To be fair, during a television interview, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio acknowledged the flaws of these modules riddled with gender stereotypes, and the need to rectify them as soon as possible.
This is the right step, but how long has it been overdue? Lack of time might have been a problem in the creation of these modules, but it’s more a matter of timing that revealed the inherent problem within the ministry. No number of postponements could have fixed an already faulty mode of thinking.
Topics of gender expression, gender identity, and gender equality aren’t concepts that only came out at the turn of the millennium – they’ve always been a relevant topic, even more so now.
Perhaps the Department of Education can be more valuable being the student than being the educator in this regard.