Intention-wise, the “no-child-left-behind” policy of the Department of Education (DepEd) is indeed noble. It surely is for the benefit and welfare of the schoolchildren. But the domino effect it creates has some unpleasant consequences.

Since the result it aims to achieve is somewhat forced, teachers are also compelled to do some things that are undesirably “forced”. Again, the objective is good and commendable, but it is also close to impossible, given the short period of time to realize it, the voluminous non-teaching tasks teachers are made to do, the numerous students there are in each grade level, and the fact that the skills to teach should have been learned in the earlier grades, and are no longer the cargo of teachers in the upper levels.

An impossible aim, therefore, is also given a quick solution by the concerned teachers, seemingly giving what it deserves to get. The concerned students, though not possessing the learning skills expected of them in certain grade levels, are given passing grades by their teachers, otherwise, these latter will be the ones to suffer the consequences as though it is their fault. So, mediocrity and ignorance are passed on to higher years.

Who suffers as a result of this mass promotion thing? Of course, it’s the students who know nothing about the lessons and skills they are expected to learn. Who should be penalized for such a failure, the teachers? We don’t think so unless they are rid of their clerical and secretarial tasks, their students are reduced in number, they are given longer time, and the teachers teaching the basic skills are allowed to do so, which means that if they are expected to teach reading in English, they should be made to do it, not that they are made to teach the mother tongue, instead.

Instead of blaming the teacher-factor, or the student-factor, for the obvious failure of this scheme, why don’t we question its proponents? Were they practical enough when they came up with it? Did they reckon it’s not measurable, doable, and achievable? We don’t think so. It’s just being ambitious. It doesn’t help the teachers at all, the learners, or the system. It’s just promoting mediocrity among the learners, causing embarrassments in the process. Surely, it needs an urgent revisit.