The Department of Education (abbreviated as DepEd; Filipino: Kagawaran ng Edukasyon) is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for ensuring access to, promoting equity in, and improving the quality of basic education. It is the main agency tasked to manage and govern the Philippine system of basic education. It is the chief formulator of Philippine education policy and responsible for the Philippine primary and secondary school systems. It has its headquarters at the DepEd Complex in Meralco Avenue, Pasig.
|Kagawaran ng Edukasyon|
Department of Education building
|Formed||January 21, 1901|
|Headquarters||DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines|
|Annual budget||₱557.25 billion (2021)|
The department is currently led by the secretary of education, nominated by the president of the Philippines and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. The secretary is a member of the Cabinet. The current secretary of education is Leonor Briones Presently, its mission is to provide quality basic education that is equitably accessible to all and lay the foundation for lifelong learning and service for the common good. It has changed its vision statement, removing a phrase that some groups deem to be "too sectarian" for a government institution.
Philippine Education has undergone different stages of progress from the pre-Spanish era to the present. During the early Spanish period, education in the Philippines was religion-oriented and was primarily for the elite, especially in the first years of Spanish colonization. Access to education by Filipinos was later liberalized through the enactment of the Educational Decree of 1863, which provided for the establishment of at least one primary school for boys and girls in each town under the responsibility of the municipal government, and the establishment of a normal school for male teachers under the supervision of the Jesuits. Primary instruction was secularized and free, and the teaching of Spanish was compulsory. It was also through this decree that the 'Superior Commission of Primary Instruction' was established, the seminal agency of the Department of Education.
The defeat of Spain by United States forces in 1898 paved the way for Aguinaldo's Republic under a Revolutionary Government. The schools maintained by Spain for more than three centuries were closed temporarily but were reopened on August 29, 1898 by the secretary of the interior. A system of free and compulsory elementary education was established by the Malolos Constitution, under Article 23. However, this first sovereign education system was interrupted in 1899 with the start of the Philippine–American War, and was finally dismantled.
A secularized and free public school system during the first decade of American rule was established upon the recommendation of the Schurman Commission in 1900. Free primary instruction that trained the people for the duties of citizenship was enforced by the Taft Commission as per instructions of US President William McKinley. Chaplains and non-commissioned officers were assigned to teach using English as the medium of instruction.
A highly centralized public school system was instituted in January 1901 by the Taft Commission, by virtue of Act No. 74. This act also established the Department of Public Instruction, headed by a General Superintendent. The implementation of this Act created a heavy shortage of teachers so the Philippine Commission authorized the Superintendent of Public Instruction to bring 500 teachers from the United States to the Philippines. They would later be popularly known as the Thomasites.
The Organic Act of 1916 reorganized the Department of Public Instruction, mandating that it be headed by a secretary. This act also mandated the Filpinization of department secretaries, except that of the secretary of public instruction.
During World War II, the department was reorganized once again through the Japanese's Military Order No. 2 in February 1942, splitting the department into the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Public Instruction. Under the Japanese, the teaching of Tagalog, Philippine history, and character education was given priority. Love for work and the dignity of labor were also emphasized.
In October 1944, months after Pres. Manuel L. Quezon's death, the department was renamed as the Department of Public Instruction and Information, with Carlos P. Romulo at the helm. Upon the return and resumption of the Commonwealth Government in February 1945, its name was changed to the Department of Instruction.
In 1947, by virtue of Executive Order No. 94 by Pres. Manuel Roxas, the department was reorganized to the Department of Education. During this period, the regulation and supervision of public and private schools belonged to the Bureau of Public and Private Schools.
Upon the start of Martial Law in September 1972, it became the Department of Education and Culture and subsequently reorganized into the Ministry of Education and Culture in June 1978 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1397, due to the shift to a parliamentary system of government. Thirteen regional offices were created and major organizational changes were implemented in the educational system.
The Education Act of 1982 created the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, which became the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) in 1987 via Executive Order No. 117 by President Corazon C. Aquino.
The structure of DECS as embodied in EO 117 has practically remained unchanged until 1994, when the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was established, and on August 25, 1994, when the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was established to supervise tertiary degree programs and non-degree technical-vocational programs, respectively. The trifocal education system refocused the department's mandate to basic education which covers elementary, secondary and non-formal education, including culture and sports. CHED is responsible for tertiary education, while TESDA now administers the post-secondary, middle-level manpower training and development.
In August 2001, the Governance of Basic Education Act was passed, renaming the DECS to the Department of Education (DepEd) and redefining the role of field offices, which include regional offices, division offices, district offices, and schools.
The Act removed the administration of cultural and sports activities from the department. The National Historical Institute, Records Management and Archives Office, and the National Library are now administratively attached to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). All previous functions, programs, and activities related to sports competition were transferred to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). In addition, the Bureau of Physical Education and School Sports was abolished.
At present, the Department is headed by the secretary of education, with the following undersecretaries and assistant secretaries:
Under the Office of the Secretary are the following offices and services:
A director is assigned to each of the 17 regions of the Philippines; the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (Bangsamoro) (BARRM) is governed by a regional minister. A division superintendent is assigned to each of the school divisions defined by the department.
DepEd is composed of 18 bureaus and services:
The following agencies, councils and schools are attached to DepEd for policy and program coordination:
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is now attached to the Office of the President, while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is now attached to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The Department of Education drew flak online in November 2020 for an invitation for bidding on its website for the supply and delivery of ham and cheese for the DepEd Central Office worth ₱4.28 million. The invitation read that the cost is equivalent to 4,260 hams and 2,160 cheese supplies for the annual Christmas celebration of the central office.
Netizens criticized the bidding as ill-timed as it was posted during the onset of Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses, which at the time, caused extensive damage and casualties to the affected areas. In response, the department has since canceled and retracted the bidding and pledged to reallocate the funds to typhoon relief efforts and for their COVID-19 response.
Around April 7, 2022, a month before the national elections, images of a Grade 11 self-learning module entitled “Introduction to Philosophy of the Human Person” which contained exercises that appeared to be showing Vice President Leni Robredo in a negative light started circulating online. Netizens immediately began to call out DepEd on this matter. The learning activity in question instructed "students to identify which among the given headlines has no errors in spelling, grammar and content".
7. Which among these headlines has no errors in terms of spelling, grammar, and content?
- A. Robredo Chides Government for Unclear Communication on New Quarantine Rules.
- B. Robredo Blames the Government as They Don’t Have Clear Rules in Quarantine.
- C. Robredo Charge the Government as Culprit for Confusion in Quarantine.
- D. Robredo blames those in Executive Branch for Communication’s Unclear.
8. Which among the following statements contain substantiated generalizations?
- A. “Drug war a massive failure” – Robredo.
- B. Robredo lies to the world, shames the nation and herself in UN message
- C. The real albatross on Leni Robredo’s neck.
- D. Let Leni plan on her own drug war
After the substantial news coverage of the issue, the Manila City division office of the Department of Education released a statement apologizing for the publication and distribution of the module.  Stating that “We sincerely apologize for any harm or inconvenience that this may have caused individuals or groups. This is definitely not the intent or the very purpose of the publication of such material".
The statement also admitted that the module in question did not undergo a proper review and that more strict mechanisms would be put in place as well.  The Office of the DepEd secretary has also released a statement assuring the public that efforts will be made "to warn our officials and personnel, including teachers, against participating in partisan politics."
The module has since been recalled and removed from the Department's online module site as well after coverage of the story. The team in charge of the module is now being subjected to review by the Department to prevent further errors occurring in the future.
This is not the first time the Department has been called out for errors and politcking in their remote learning modules.  Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Philippine government has since allotted billions of pesos to allow for distance learning in an effort to combat the pandemic while not disrupting the learning process of student.
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