AFTER the Department of Education denied the report on “no read, no write” grade schoolers in Bicol, a teachers’ group challenged the department to show the detailed report of the reading inventory done by the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI) in all regions.
In a statement, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said Education Secretary Leonor Briones “could be right in saying that reports on struggling readers in Bicol is unfair for the Bicolanos as the situation could be true in the whole of the country, or worse in poorer regions and localities.”
“Especially as our call for the review of the K-12 program has finally gained attention from the government, all indicators should be laid down to have an honest assessment of our educational system. The development of our students is a national concern,” said ACT Philippines chairperson Joselyn Martinez.
Martinez said the DepEd should “not be onion-skinned” on the issue to truthfully identify and address the factors that contribute to the declining quality of Philippine education if it is sincere in its “no learner left behind” slogan.
Martinez also warned against the “simplistic” tendency not to put the blame on the teachers’ capabilities and dedication to teach pupils how to read, but instead to look at the whole situation.
Martinez raised the practical problem of less time allocated in honing the reading skills of students with the inclusion of more learning lessons in Grades 1 and 2 curriculum of K-12 program.
Under the K to 12 program, 40 to 50 minutes is allocated for each of the seven subjects compared to before’s one hour for each of the five subjects.
Martinez said teachers have little time to make adjustments based on the learners’ needs as the DepEd sets the daily lesson log, budget of work for each subject everyday, and competencies that students are expected to acquire, based on which teachers’ performance is evaluated.
Martinez said the DepEd also presses teachers to be “more innovative and sacrificing.”
She noted that the many government deficiencies in creating an enabling working and learning environment for teachers and pupils as hindrances in developing the reading competency of students.
She also cited the large class size, inadequate textbooks and other learning materials as added factors to their difficulties in teaching pupils how to read.
ACT stressed that with K to 12 implementation, tons of paperworks and non-teaching duties take teachers away from their focus in teaching, while teachers’ compensation does not measure to the volume and value of their work.
“They always say that quality education necessitates quality teachers.
“How can we have quality teachers if they were always interrupted in their primary focus and are not given quality pay?” Martinez said
ACT has pushed for an inclusive and comprehensive assessment of the K to 12 program that will involve the participation of teachers, students, and parents.
“The DepEd and Congress should be as keen in involving the very sectors that tackle the K to 12 program daily as they engage experts and the business sector in the K to 12 review,” Martinez said.
ACT is also pushing for the reorientation and overhaul of the current education program towards a nationalist, scientific, and quality mass education that is responsive to the needs of national development.