September 30, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) has encouraged field offices to take immediate actions to protect academic integrity among learners in light of the emergence of online groups uploading answered self-learning modules (SLMs).

“We appeal to parents, teachers, and learners to help us dismiss this online cheating, which undermines the development of values and morality among the youth. It demeans the education quality that the Department is committed to improve,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio explained that while the SLMs have a key to correction, it is not intended to be used to cheat and bypass authentic learning.

“Regardless of the design of the SLMs and the extent of freedom in the online space, cheating cannot be justified under any circumstance,” Usec. San Antonio noted.

In a memorandum addressed to Regional Directors, the Office of the Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction (OUCI) has enumerated various approaches to promote academic honesty and uphold learners’ integrity.

Regional Offices are encouraged to conduct orientations with parents to raise awareness on the existence of Facebook groups and/or pages that promote cheating and explain its consequences to their children.

Field offices may develop validated Self-learning Activities (SLAs) or the Learning Activity Sheets (LAS) that require learners to analyze information, craft creative presentations, or explain their thinking.

They may also include academic integrity in the In-Service Training (INSET) and Capacity Building Program for teachers to serve as an avenue to identify teaching actions and attitudes that push the students to cheat. TV and radio programs tackling motivation for learners and parents or guardians may also be used and aired on a specific schedule, preferably using their mother tongue.

Meanwhile, schools are allowed to incorporate other assessment schemes such as creating multiple versions of tests, using peer feedback to assess each other’s work, and randomizing test items for students, among others.

Regional Offices may also direct schools to prioritize the development of programs and school rules and regulations that promote academic integrity.

DepEd field offices, schools, teachers, and parents may offer recommendations on the improvement and transparency of the policy guidelines on assessment and grading system to ease the pressure on competition among learners and cultivate a healthy classroom environment.

Usec. San Antonio also emphasized that teachers, parents, and school heads must use caution, exercise good judgment, and treat learners with respect and fairness when dealing with academic dishonesty.