VERA FILES FACT CHECK: DepEd DID NOT add a new ‘Grade 13’ level for students

A year-old fake graphic that shows the Department of Education (DepEd) introducing a new grade level to the country’s basic education system has drawn renewed attention from Facebook (FB) users.

Labeled “live” and “breaking news,” the fabricated graphic resurfaced this week, or a year after it was uploaded by a netizen on March 15, 2020. The made-up post carried a picture of DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones and a news ticker that read: “DEPED ANNOUNCES GRADE 13.” In a smaller font was the text: “NAAWA AKO SA MGA SENIORS (I felt pity for the senior [high school students]) SAYS DEPED SECRETARY.”

DepEd called this fake three months after it was first published and in a statement issued on June 8, 2020 said it “never announced the addition of another year level in the K to 12 Basic Education system.”

There has been no new pronouncement about an additional grade level.

Under Republic Act 10533, the country’s enhanced basic education program consists of a year of kindergarten education, six years of elementary school (Grades 1-6), four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 and 12).

Rappler also fact-checked the claim in May 2020, around the time it first peaked on FB.

While some netizens recognized the post as “fake news,” others who were fooled by the post cursed Briones, wished for her death, and called her buang (crazy) and tiguwang (old). A few students ranted about how the additional grade level would make their lives harder.

Visible in the graphic was the url, which leads to a meme generator website that lets visitors create bogus news reports.

A search for the netizen’s now-deleted post through social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle reveals that it regained traction beginning March 16, a day after DepEd announced early registration for the school year 2021-2022.

The netizen’s fake post got nearly 4,300 reactions, 800 comments, and 179,000 shares before it was taken down this week. At least one FB page — I’m bitter — has re-uploaded it and has gotten over 580 shares.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)