Measure seeks to mobilize LGUs to eradicate illiteracy


Following reports of low literacy rates among learners in different parts of the country, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is pushing for a proposed measure that will mobilize local government units (LGUs) to achieve zero illiteracy.

In an education summit recently held in Baguio City, it was revealed that only four out of 10 kids in Grades 4 to 7 aged 9 to 12 can properly read or write in English. This is based on the results of pretests and post-tests done from 2021 to 2022.

The same tests revealed that less than half of learners from Grades 3 to 7 in the city aged 8 to 9 could read or write in Filipino.

In the province of Cagayan, a survey recently posted on its official website, revealed that 12.72 percent or 29,529 out of 231,667 learners enrolled in public schools cannot read. The 2017-2018 Early Language, Literacy, and Numeracy Assessment (ELLNA) also revealed that the literacy rate in the province is 49.52 percent.

Gatchalian has been pushing for the National Literacy Council Act (Senate Bill No. 473) which will assign Local School Boards (LSBs) as de facto local literacy councils.

The proposed measure seeks to strengthen the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), which will continue to serve as the lead inter-agency coordinating and advisory body on the formulation and implementation of measures to accelerate the universalization of literacy. The LCC was established by Republic Act No. 7165, as amended.

Under the proposed measure, the strengthened LCC is mandated to formulate a three-year roadmap on achieving illiteracy in communities. LSBs will be mandated to formulate a local roadmap based on the council’s three-year roadmap.

Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the community must assist the children of Baguio who have difficulty reading and writing in English while Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba has issued Executive Order No. 1 directing local executives to support the Department of Education’s (DepEd) learning recovery plans.

“Ang isang batang hindi marunong bumasa ay problema ng buong bansa. Sa pagsugpo natin ng illiteracy, mahalaga ang papel ng ating mga lokal na mga komunidad. Kaya naman palalawigin natin ang papel ng ating mga Local School Boards sa pagpapatupad ng mga programa upang matiyak na bawat bata ay matutong bumasa at umintindi ng kanilang binabasa,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

DepEd report

The current state and the challenges facing the basic education in the country will be tackled on Monday during the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Basic Education Report 2023.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to attend the event where Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte will also present the priority programs and solutions of these challenges.

“Gusto natin ilahad sa general public kung ano talaga ‘yung current state of education kasi lagi natin naririnig ang daming challenges sa basic education. So, dito natin iisa-isahin sa publiko kung ano yung mga [We will present to the public what really is the current state of education because we often hear there are so many challenges. So, we will present it to the public one by one what are the] specific challenges [in] basic education,” DepEd Spokesperson Michael Tan Poa said.

Poa the report will also train the spotlight on other issues including problems with the number school building and facilities, literacy gap, learning poverty report previously issued by the World Bank, as well as problems with the basic education curriculum.

It will include updates on the ongoing review of the controversial K to 12 program.

“These are the things that we are aware of and a lot more that we will be presenting in the Basic Education Report,” he added.

With a report from Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco