SELF-LEARNING MODULES. Department of Education (DepEd)-7 Regional Director Salustiano Jimenez (right) is seen talking with the members of the Cebu media in a forum in December 2019. Jimenez on Friday (Oct. 16, 2020) said it is unfair to blame DepEd for the deaths of three students who allegedly committed suicide due to difficulties in answering their self-learning modules. (Photo courtesy of Minerva Newman)

CEBU CITY – The top education official in Central Visayas on Friday said it is unfair to blame the Department of Education (DepEd) for the deaths of three students who allegedly committed suicide due to difficulties in answering their self-learning modules.

Salustiano Jimenez, DepEd-7 regional director, said in a radio interview that while they respect the findings of the police investigations and the opinions of the parents, there may be some other factors that pushed those youngsters to commit suicide.

“But for me, it’s hard to directly connect the modules to these suicide incidents because we need to see the causal connection between the modules and the students’ condition,” he said in Cebuano.

Jimenez said even psychologists could hardly connect the self-learning modules to suicides.

There were already suicide incidents that happened even before the pandemic which pushed the education department to resort into modular type of learning delivery to avoid coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission in classrooms, he said.

Jimenez said the department strives hard to inculcate mental health awareness to students, parents and teachers through a series of orientations.

He also said that it is impossible for the students to just commit suicide if they cannot answer their modules or accomplish their assigned performance tasks.

“Now that we are still in the period of the pandemic, the parents are there to guide their children and the children could right away ask for help to their parents. Unlike before the pandemic where children are in schools face-to-face with their teachers and are pressured to perform their tasks, submit their works, and answer at once even the hardest of their exams,” he said, adding that many students were even scolded by their teachers in school but none of them committed suicide.

He said guidance of the parents is critical now that the educational system in the country has been forced to modify the learning delivery due to the pandemic.

The DepEd-7 chief was reacting to the report that three students from Cebu’s southern town of Alcoy, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental and the city of Toledo in west Cebu, recently committed suicide allegedly due to hardships in answering their school modules. (PNA)