TEXTBOOK evaluators undergo stringent screening process as the Department of Education started its evaluation to ensure error-free textbooks in elementary and high schools.

The move came as the DepEd is winding up a three-day conference with publishers, the National Book Development Board (NDBD) and expert from the academe at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The confab was aimed at coming up with measures to resolve the problem that has bedeviled the department for several years.

Socorro Pilor, Director of the DepEd Instructional Materials Council Secretariat (IMSC) said evaluators will have to undergo testing to be administered by the National Education Testing and Research Center (NETRC).

“Bago s’ya maging evaluator ng ating mga textbooks kailangang makapasa s’ya sa pagsusulit na ibibigay ng NETRC,” Pilor said.

“Dati kasi yung mga prospective evaluators, magsa-submit lang sila ng mga documents at titingnan din ang experience at educational attainment,” the IMSC chief said.

She said they would also upload the textbook manuscripts in the Internet to solicit ideas and inputs while at the same time ensuring that copyright infringement will be curtailed.

Under the set-up, eight evaluators are deployed per one textbook title and two per area.

Area 1 covered review of coverage and sufficiency of the learning competencies and is done by teams of master teachers, subject area experts, curriculum specialists and representative of professional association.

Areas 2 covered the review of factual, pedagogical, grammatical and other types of errors and are checked by content experts from the academe.

Areas 3 covered the review of the presentation, language and visuals and are checked by master teachers from various regions.

Area 4 covered grammatical content corrections and review if it easily understood by the target users.

Area 5 is the final review of the textbooks.

To ensure the correctness of their work, evaluators will compare and validate their findings before making any final recommendations.

Pilor said some 86.2 million textbooks already delivered by the DepEd to public elementary and secondary schools nationwide have undergone stringent evaluation by experts from the academe including the University of the Philippines and Ateneo De Manila University.

Another 5.73 million secondary textbooks in Science and Technology, Mathematics, Music and Arts and Physical Education and Health are set to be delivered before the school year ends.

For his part, DepEd Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Alberto Muyot said they are considering “blacklisting” publishing firms whose products are riddled with errors.

Error-filled textbooks used in the country’s public schools were exposed by quality textbook crusader Antonio Calipjo-Go, an academic supervisor of a private school in Quezon City.

Go has made improving education his advocacy. He has spent more than P1 million out of his own pocket to publish the blunders he had found in the DepEd textbooks, for which he has earned libel suits and brickbats.

Under Republic Act (RA) 8047, otherwise known as the Book Publishing Industry Development Act of 1995, particularly Rule VII, Section II, mandates that that, “The DECS (DepEd) shall ensure the quality of instructional materials to be adopted in public schools.”

At the same time, the NBDB came up with a new rule in 2005 that enables the agency to cancel the registration of publishers that produce poor quality textbooks.

NBDB also formed a Textbook Review Service where publishers may voluntarily submit their books for evaluation by a team of experts from a “center of excellence.”

Another measure to encourage publishers to produce quality textbooks started by the NBDB in 2007 was the “Quality Seal Awards.”(AH/Sunnex)