DepEd draws backlash anew, this time, over module describing nurses as ‘katulong’

February 24, 2021 - 12:22 PM
Newly graduate nurses take their oath during an oath taking ceremony of professional nurses inside a mall in Manila September 20, 2010. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo)

Some Filipino nurses corrected the Department of Education after a module referencing them as “katulong” or helper of doctors went viral this week.

Some nurses took to Twitter to call out the circulating screenshot of a learning material in Filipino that features job descriptions of a carpenter, a nurse and a chef.

A carpenter was described as “gumagawa ng bahay” or building houses while a chef was described as “tagaluto ng masasarap na pagkain” or cooking of delicious food.

Nurse, on the other hand, was described as “katulong o kasama ng doctor” or helper and companion of a doctor.

The use of “katulong” which translates to “maid” or “helper” in English, offended some members of the nursing community online.

One nurse on Twitter said: “Hoy DepEd ayos ayusin nyo modules nyo ha. We are a team sa healthcare at hindi kami katulong.”

“Until now, katulong pa rin ng doktor yung tingin sa mga nurse. Ang malala pa, it deviates from the real context of our role in the healthcare field as if we are doctor’s assistant,” another Twitter user said.

Some Facebook users offered a word that should have been used, which is “katuwang” which translates to “co-worker” in English.

They stressed that instead of the nurse giving assistance to a doctor, the two professionals work as one team.

“’Katuwang’ would really be better, kasi it would also help establish that nurses and doctors are EQUALS and no profession is superior to another. Oh by the way, hindi kasi ‘tinutulungan’ ng nurses ang doctors kasi they work in different ways. kaya literal na hindi ‘katulong ng doctor’ ang nurses. mas appropriate talaga to say na “katuwang” dahil sila ay CO-WORKERS and THEY WORK AS A TEAM,” commented one Facebook user.


Others, meanwhile, argued that social media users who got offended may have misinterpreted the context of the module.

They cited the use of the conjunction “o” or “or” in English. Thus, as a whole, the learning material defines a nurse as someone who helps or works with doctors.

“Tingnan nating mabuti ang pangungusap, gumamit ito ng pangatnig na “o,” ibig sabihin ang katulong ay binigyan ng kahulugan bilang kasama, ng doktor. Hindi po ito katulong na kasambahay. Salamat po!,” a Facebook user commented.

“Wala pong masama sa salitang katulong– ka + tulong. Ibig sabihin may ibinibigay na tulong sa isang taong gumagawa ng isang gawain, kaya katulong o katuwang,” he added.

The issue also reached the users Reddit forum, wherein they argued that taking offense on the word “katulong” might also imply looking down on maids or house helpers in general.

“Mukhang yung netizen ang may issue sa word na katulong, marami naman gamit yan, hindi lang yung katulong sa bahay na all around. Tsaka wala nman masama sa pagiging katulong,” a Reddit user noted.

“Filipinos actually look down on kapwa Filipinos working such jobs that to them looking like a maid or katulong or being called one is a SLUR,” another Reddit user said.

As of writing, the DepEd has not yet issued a statement on this issue.

The agency has been in hot water since the opening of classes last year for its modules that contain glaring errors in various subjects.

Last month, some teachers criticized a music lesson that was broadcasted on the agency’s YouTube channel over erroneous explanation of rhythmic patterns.

READ: Filipinos correct DepEd over errors on music lesson video