education in the Philippines

DepEd: 99% of students got passing marks because teachers were ‘considerate’

Bonz Magsambol
DepEd: 99% of students got passing marks because teachers were ‘considerate’

DISTANCE LEARNING. Public school students at Barangay Poblacion, Mandaluyong City struggle on their first day of distance learning.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Are students really learning in a remote set-up?

Did public school teachers give passing grades to their students even if they were not deserving?

After senators questioned the department of education’s report that 99% of public school students obtained a passing grade in the first quarter of the school year (October-December 2020), its top official said on Friday, March 5, this was likely due to consideration extended to them by their teachers.

In a Laging Handa briefing aired in state-run PTV4, Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that the DepEd students’ academic report – which was presented at Senate hearing on Wednesday, March 3 – was based on field reports submitted to them.

“Sabi ko iyon ay ulat galing sa aming kasama sa regions, school divisions, at sa aming mga paaralan. Siyempre po, kung ano naman po ang nasumite sa amin, ayun naman po ang irereport namin,” he said.

(As what I’ve said, the report was from our regional offices, school divisions, and schools. Of course, we would report what was submitted to us.)

San Antonio said this did not mean that teachers implemented a “pass all policy,” which was being pushed for by several groups.

“At ang ginawa nga po natin ay ‘yung academic ease na binigyan nating diin baka mas kailangan na maging considerate tayo ngayon pero may naiwan pa rin ng 1%. Parang di naman [sila] nakipag cooperate sa kanilang mga teachers,” he said.

(And what we did was to implement academic ease so teachers would become more considerate now. But still there’s 1% who were left out. Maybe, they did not cooperate with their teachers.)

San Antonio noted that even in his time as a teacher, he was considerate toward students who showed willingness to learn. “So baka yung mga consideration naipasok ‘yan,” he said. (So, maybe the teachers did extend such consideration.)

On Wednesday, San Antonio told senators that 14.5 million public school students obtained passing marks, while more than 126,000 got failing grades during the first quarter of school year 2020-2021.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the basic education committee, said he was baffled by this high passing rate because many students did struggle with distance learning caused by the pandemic.

Senator Nancy Binay also questioned the report, citing instances when it was the parents or household members who would end up answering the exercises in the learning modules.

During Friday’s briefing, San Antonio also said that DepEd was probing reports of academic dishonesty in its implementation of distance learning.

Rappler investigative story published on February 2 showed that some students even pay others to do their classwork.

The issue of whether students are actually learning in a remote set-up is concerning. Recent global assessments showed that Filipino students lagged behind in terms of academic performance compared to other countries, especially against their Southeast Asian counterparts.

The implementation of distance learning has been criticized, as the country appeared not prepared for it. This is evident in erroneous learning modules and teachers having difficulty coping with the new mode of instruction. Students also lacked access to the technology needed for the remote learning. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.