'Power trip'?: Education chief questions COA report on textbook errors

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2019 08:27 PM

Education Secretary Leonor Briones. Malacañang Photo/File

MANILA - Education Secretary Leonor Briones has hit the Commission on Audit's report on textbook errors, as she questioned the qualifications of the state editors to evaluate educational materials.

While the education department has "great respect" for COA, Education Secretary Leonor asked "how infallible are reports by COA resident auditors?”

“What is the proper scope of audit? If not properly defined, a roving audit can be administratively debilitating for agencies," she said in a statement.

"In many ways, its exercise can sometimes cross over to being a ‘power trip’ rather that truly facilitative for fostering efficiency,” she added.

State auditors earlier flagged the Department of Education over "poor quality" textbooks due to errors in P254.4-million worth of instructional materials. 

“For instance, is it really the providence of auditors to substitute their editorial preferences for those mandated executive agencies?" she asked.

"In the age of social media and quick judgments, an audit conducted in excess of jurisdiction can be unduly damaging to agencies, in the process of eroding public trust in government. With great power comes great responsibility," she added.

Briones called on COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo to look into these matters "with openness to search for reforms."

Following the audit report, COA said the DepEd management agreed to the immediately correct the “error-filled” materials, improve their review before publication, and evaluate the controls on buffer stocks.

- Report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News