The Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR) manages the acquisition, allocation, procurement, and equitable distribution of learning resources, including textbooks and teacher manuals.
The aim is to ensure that every pupil or student in all public schools is provided with a complete set of textbooks (TXs) per grade level and every teacher a complete set of teachers manuals (TMs).
It is the policy of DepEd to procure TXs and TMs on a centralized basis to avail of economies of scale. The provision of TXs and TMs will allow DepEd to achieve the 1:1 Textbook to Pupil Ratio (TXPr).
It shall ensure that the TXPr in all public schools shall remain at desirable levels (1:1) for core subjects and (1:2) for noncore subjects throughout the five (5) years life span of the TXs and TMs.
Two functional units handle BLR’s operations. The Learning Resources Production Division manages the production and distribution of learning resources, and the Learning Resources Quality Assurance Division oversees the selection process of TXs and TMs and quality assures the DepEd developed learning resources.
At the regional level, learning resources management is handled by the Learning Resource Supervisor, Librarian, and Assistant Librarian from the Curriculum and Learning Management Division (CLMD).
At the division level, Curriculum Implementation Division, through a Learning Resource Supervisor and Project Development Office (PDO), ensures all learning resources requirements and concerns of schools and learning centers are provided and addressed.
Table of Contents
Critical bottlenecks in BLR’s operation severely impacted its ability to utilize the allocated budget for learning resources. These operational issues include:
- Low quality of manuscripts submitted by suppliers
- High cost of materials (papers)
- Suppliers’ failure to meet the deadline in printing and delivery
- Limited participating bidders (same publishers)
These bottlenecks prolong both the procurement process and the distribution of learning resources. Needed TXs and TMs do not reach the public schools on time.
Delays in procurement resulted in budget underutilization and failure to meet program targets. Despite the introduction of procurement reforms, issues such as bidding failure, supply limitations to meet DepEd’s demands, and late downloading of funds contributed to persistent delays in delivering textbooks and other instructional materials.
During the shift to blended learning because of the pandemic, DepEd also developed modules on its own. However, these materials’ accuracy and appropriateness came under scrutiny, prompting DepEd to establish an initiative to locate and address all module errors.
Materials Not Yet Procured
In 2019, DepEd had not procured 43% of target textbooks and other instructional materials. For those already procured a year before, the COA has found issues with accuracy and these materials’ availability.
In the current scenario where DepEd uses a new curriculum, not all teachers may be thoroughly equipped to implement it. The quality of learning materials in all schools should be the last defense against inferior education.
As of January 2020, learning resources (LRs) for grade levels 6 to 10 and Senior High School are yet to be delivered to the field.
Table 1: Learning Resources Not Yet Delivered to the Field as of January 2020
|Grade Level||Learning Resources not yet Delivered to the Field|
|6||English, Filipino, Science, PE|
|8||English and TLE|
|10||Araling Panlipunan and TVL|
|SHS||Core – 5 |
STEM – 2
Applied – 3
Sports – 5
AURL – 5
Arts &Design – 12
HUMMS – 7
TVL – 73
Addressing Gaps in Learning Resources
To ensure 1:1 TXPr in all public schools, the BLR initiates a yearly inventory of learning resources by sending out a template (spreadsheet) that is manually accomplished by schools and manually consolidated by the SDOs and ROs.
While this approach may address BLR’s operational requirements, this lengthy process of identifying public schools with issues with learning resources and identifying learning areas with gap issues may be counter-productive for the SDOs.
As per the mandate, the SDOs’ through the CIDs must provide real-time assistance to schools on TXs and TMs. Identifying public schools and districts with deficiencies in learning resources would allow the CID to manage the allocation and distribution of learning resources.
The SDO needs to set up a more efficient process of identifying subjects and public schools with learning resource issues at the SDO level. Region-specific strategies for managing learning resources can also be improved when the CLMD receives regular feedback on distribution and utilization issues.
Other DepEd units also have their initiatives on tracking learning resources. The planning process and requirements at the school and SDO levels require an inventory of learning resources. The school’s school improvement plan (SIP) contains a list of textbooks per grade level and per subject.
It is unclear how SDO, RO, and BLR use this information to determine learning resource gaps. The quarterly monitoring activities of the RO and SDOs rarely discuss issues on distribution and utilization of learning resources. Tracking gaps in learning resources should be integrated with other programs and initiatives in DepEd.
The lengthy process of identifying learning resource gaps (December to March) and the process of procuring TXs and TMs contribute to delays in responding to public schools’ actual learning resource needs.
Monitoring utilization of learning resources is also done annually and manually. The BLR distributes questionnaires and undertakes field-level interviews to generate feedback on learning materials’ quality, adequacy, and usage.
Responses are collected and collated by a focal person. The process is centrally-driven. As in the case of monitoring gaps in resources, there is a need for the SDOs and ROs to establish an evidence-driven and real-time process for tracking how schools are utilizing the learning resources.
The monitoring should provide information on how useful these resources are in facilitating understanding of topics and subject areas and identifying learning areas requiring supplementary learning materials to maximize the teachers’ and students’ learning sessions.
There may be a need to collaborate with the Bureaus of Curriculum Development and Learning Delivery in setting up an integrating mechanism for tracking the utilization and effectiveness of DepEd’s learning resources. Findings and lessons from this mechanism can purposively improve the development and sharing of learning materials.
Capability Building of the Region and Division Learning Resource Supervisors
Supplementing TXs and TMs with needed learning materials to address the unique and immediate learning needs in different areas is critical to quality basic education services.
The LRMDS and DepEd Commons are being utilized to address the gaps or deficiencies in learning resources or supplement existing materials and references. While these facilities provide access to more materials, these platforms may accommodate materials with content issues, poorly contextualized resources, poorly designed presentation materials, and intellectual property rights issues. Both systems may also overwhelm users with too many materials or references.
With the critical role of the RO and SDO in facilitating quality learning resources, there may be a need to build DepEd’s capacity and capability on intellectual property, social content, design and development, illustrations and visuals, contextualization, and quality assurance.
Addressing Complaints and Errors
An Error Watch group composed of technical specialists from various Bureaus was established at the CO to address concerns about the self-learning modules (SLMs).
The group is tasked to handle errors reported or posted on social media platforms, including responding to criticisms and comments against the SLMs.
DepEd may also create a facility internal to DepEd facilitated by the SGOD’s M&E Specialist and the Region’s Quality Assurance Division (QAD) to handle errors in SLMs internally.
Schools and DepEd stakeholders may use this facility to provide feedback on content, context, and presentation mistakes.
Provision of Appropriate Equipment, Tools, and Materials
After printed learning materials and teaching/study guides, the next challenge for DepEd is providing the proper equipment, tools, and supplementary materials to improve the teaching-learning process’s quality.
The K to 12 curriculum demands better mastery of key subjects like Science, Mathematics, and Technology to produce students with 21st-century skills.
However, teachers can best teach these complicated subjects if teachers are aided by appropriate visual aids and manipulatives that make the learning experience more practical and personal.
Supplementary materials are usually more expensive and more difficult to procure. Like textbooks, there is simply no comprehensive list of supplementary teaching equipment, tools, and materials that can serve all possible scenarios in delivering the curriculum, leaving the decision to procure certain materials subject to personal biases.
The additional requirement for these materials to be available in 19 languages and for children with disabilities makes implementation even more complicated.
Typhoons and Calamities
In 2020, tropical cyclones Rolly, Sony, Tokyo, and Ulysses hit the Luzon and Visayas regions bringing torrential rains, violent winds, and destructive flooding.
Many schools were destroyed, and many schools severely damaged school furniture, learning materials, and computers. The Bicol region where Super Typhoon Rolly first made landfall caused Php 9.7B damages to school infrastructure and learning resources.
The series of destructive storms also immediately depleted the buffer stocks of learning resources in the SDOs. The calamities did not even spare self-learning modules (SLMs) distributed to learners.
The Philippines averaged 20 tropical cyclones per year. Changes in the weather pattern have brought destructive weather disturbances in the last ten years. Through the BLR, DepEd needs to formulate mitigating strategies to minimize these typhoons’ effects on learning resources.
Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA)