Sara Duterte Announces ‘Catch-up Fridays’ For Nonreaders, Would This Be Enough?

VP Sara Duterte sees this step as a solution to address illiteracy in high school

Vice President Sara Duterte announced on Tuesday that schools will have “catch-up Fridays” that will be allotted for nonreaders after an opinion article was published in Inquirer with the title “We have senior high school graduates who cannot read.”

Many people believe that education is one of the foundations of a successful life. It has been a common notion for Filipinos that in order to find success, you need to go to school and be an educated person.

However, it is devastating to know that there are students who even reached the high school level but cannot read.

sara duterte deped
📷: Issues PH

On November 20, an Inquirer’s opinion article tackled the abolition of the “No Read, No Move” policy in 2001. This policy does not allow Grade 1 students to be moved to Grade 2 if they do not know how to read.

The article mentioned that in “2005, the national elementary nonreader incidence had hit 1.74 percent rising to 2.56 percent in 2006.” Then, in 2012, the Department of Education issued the DepEd Order No. 39, series of 2012. It contained the policy guidelines for implementing a reading and writing program in secondary schools. This was a sort of admitting that there are high school students who are not good at reading and writing.

Based on the report, University of Philippines professor Maria Mercedes Arzadon claimed that sometimes, this mass promotion results in nonreaders making it to college. What a shameful thing if this is the case. Imagine, a college student who can’t read.

VP Sara Duterte, who is also the DepEd Secretary, based on the report from News 5, stated that “starting January 12, 2024, every Friday will be ‘catch-up Fridays,’ particularly for reading.” Under this program, students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will be given age-appropriate reading materials to practice their ability in reading and this will be based on their interest.

It is quite shocking to know that there are students who go to the next level without even learning how to read. Should we blame the mass promotion policy? I think the person who thought of this policy did not see the bigger picture or did not look at the future of these students.

Teachers and educational institutions must be more rigid in making sure that the students are learning, even the basic reading. I believe as well that this effort should not just directed solely to educators. There should be an effort coming from the family and the community.

As they say, parents are the first teachers of the children. If a child was brought up in an environment that is giving importance to education and learning, then, it would be helpful for children will develop their interest in learning, and in this argument, in simply knowing how to read.

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