SAYS ANGARA: DepEd system is cause of bad books
MANILA, Philippines—An “incestuous” setup within the Department of Education’s book review system is one of the reasons for the perennial problem of error-filled textbooks in the school system, Sen. Edgardo Angara said Monday.
Angara said that up to now the government had yet to implement a provision in a 1995 law, Republic Act No. 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act, which removes from DepEd’s Instructional Material Corporation (IMC) the power to commission and review books to be used in schools.
The law transfers these powers to the National Book Development Board. But 14 years later, this provision has yet to be implemented.
“We want to take away the exclusive monopoly of the IMC, which is a martial law creation, so we decided the National Book [Development] Board will take charge of commissioning textbooks as well as vetting and reviewing those that go into the school system,” Angara said.
“The reason is I thought the commission and the review of textbooks should be separate from the customer, the customer being the education department. If both are undertaken in-house, it smacks of an incestuous relationship,” he said.
Angara said the provision had not been implemented because of the strong lobby by the book publishing industry.
“There is a lobby, not in a pejorative sense, but there is a pressure group that tries to market textbooks and instruction materials. This is a huge market,” he said.
“It’s really atrocious. We’re robbing our youth. [If the review] is done by an outside independent agency, like the National Book Development Board, then you will get an independent appraisal of the textbooks. Then you can encourage competition among writers of textbooks,” Angara said.
He said the IMC is in charge of selecting the writers of English, Math and Social Science textbooks.
“They designate the writer and the examiner—the one who will review and edit. It smacks of lutong macaw (a charade),” Angara said.