THE PHILIPPINES ranked lowest in reading comprehension in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assessed 15-year-olds across 79 countries.
Although PISA has been conducting assessments on students’ competencies in reading, mathematics, and science since 2000, the country first joined in 2018 only to perform worse.
The Department of Education is set to implement a “catch up” Friday program by 2024 dedicating every Friday for learners to bolster their reading habits, and enhance critical skills.
Vice President of the Philippines and DepEd Secretary, Sara Z. Duterte said it is high time to give the learners ample time to read to see the impact of increased reading proficiency following the concerning results of international assessments.
About 27% of Filipino learners in fifth grade only recognized single words while only 10% have reading skills that allow them to transition to high school, based on 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM).
In addition, the World Bank in 2022 reported that 90% or 9 out of 10 Filipino children aged 10 years old struggle to read simple texts. The figure increased from 70% in 2019.
Vice President Duterte stressed in her speech that she is concerned the DepEd does not expect improved scores in PISA 2022 which will be released in December this year. It is the second time for the country to participate in PISA.
The secretary emphasized the need to innovate in the education approach to see improvements and dedicating a day only for reading is found to be crucial.
“Nakailang results na tayo ng PISA, dalawa na, hindi pa rin maganda ang scores ng mga bata ibig sabihin we need to do something else, we need to allot one day sa Monday-Friday natin na yun lang ang gagawin ng lahat ng bata at teachers,” the secretary added.
Starting January 12, 2024, for all learners from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in all public schools in the country, Fridays will be intended for reading, health, values, and peace education.
“Ibig sabihin wala tayong gagawin, kundi turuan ang mga bata na magbasa, at yung marunong na magbasa, ituro sa kanila ang critical thinking and analysis, yung marunong na sa critical thinking, pasulatin ninyo ng libro at essay,” Vice President Duterte said in her keynote speech during the National Reading Month culminating activity.
The official policy for “catch-up Fridays” will be released before the year ends.
During the culminating activity, the secretary launched her children’s book titled “Isang Kaibigan,” which is inspired by Filipino children.
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