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Thursday, July 11, 2019

‘High school nonreaders a failure of division and elementary schools’

The Department of Education (DepEd) national office said the problem of nonreaders in high school falls on the shoulders of the lower rungs of the agency, particularly on the division and the elementary school levels.

In an interview at their office and through email, Supervising Education Program Specialist Jocelyn Tuguinayo and Senior Education Program Specialists Angel Jabines and Nemia Cedo of the Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD) said the mandate of the national DepEd office is standard and policy formulation in relation to the implementation of different basic education programs and projects.
Tuguinayo said the national office was tasked to monitor the implementation of programs at the regional level only, while the responsibility for monitoring the happening in the schools falls on the schools divisions.
Jabines said that the principals of the elementary schools where the Grade 7 nonreaders come from were to blame for the irregularity because they attested that the students satisfactorily completed the curriculum.
She said it was the job of principals to see to it that elementary school graduates were able to read.
Tuguinayo said it was for this reason that principals were often seen making pupils read, and in the cases of pupils found to have reading difficulties, they assist and guide the teacher in coming up and applying proper reading intervention for the child.
The DepEd, she said, frowns upon the retention of pupils in a grade because, as early as the first quarter, teachers could already identify the areas where pupils were weak at and could already tailor remedies for the child in coordination with the principal.
When asked to comment on the case of the roomful of Grade 7 nonreaders and frustrated readers in Sauyo National High School in Novaliches, Quezon City, as featured in GMA 7’s “I-Witness” documentary titled “Pag-asa sa Pagbasa” aired on Sept. 1, 2018, Tuguinayo absolved the DepEd national office of any fault, saying that the alma maters of the students should have made the proper interventions with the assistance of their division supervisors.
Tuguinayo maintained that the presence of nonreaders in high school does not reflect on the national DepEd because they were performing their mandate the best they could. She added that when it comes to policies, they conduct reviews every two or three years for enhancement purposes.
The three did not comment when asked if the DepEd has already issued reminders to the field offices to see to it that no nonreaders would be allowed to graduate from the elementary
Jabines asked how the correspondent could be certain the alleged Grade 7 nonreaders really could not read when the students passed their other subjects “and reading is the foundation of all learning.”
Media reports and issuances of regional offices and one division office article, culled from their respective websites, however, do reveal that pupils now could reach the intermediate grades and even high school still illiterate.
The story “Valenzuela govt allots P300M to save slow and nonreaders among students” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Feb. 9, 2014 first sounded the alarm on the nonreader-problem, reporting that government reading tests showed that one and eight of every 10 Grade 6 pupils in Valenzuela City that school year (SY) were nonreaders and frustrated readers, respectively.
The special report “We have Grade 7 students who could hardly read” in the April 29 and May 10, 2018 issues of this paper chronicled the incidence of nonreaders, including some Grade 7 students in the Taboo City and Kalong Divisions.
An unnumbered memorandum of the DepEd National Capital Region, dated Sept. 6, 2018, required the submission of data in the English reading performance of elementary and secondary learners with the report form for high school students having a column for nonreaders.
DepEd Region 4-A Regional Memorandum 18-312, dated June 5, 2018, which enjoined support for their reading intervention program, cited reports that “there are still nonreaders in Grades 7 and 8 and readers with poor comprehension in higher grades.”
DepEd Region 11 Regional Memorandum 113, series 2108, titled “Brigada for Every Child a Reader” stated it is “in response to feedback of perpetuating existence of nonreaders in both Elementary and Secondary Levels” and DepEd Region 12 Memorandum HRDD 20, series 2018, titled “Regional Training on Grades 4 to 8 reading teachers on Care for Nonreaders (CNR) Program” included Grades 7 and 8 teachers.
The article describing the program titled “LEAP 8” of the DepEd Catanduanes Division posted in their website said: “The results of PHIL-IRI (Pre-Test and Post Test) revealed that there were still many learners in all schools and in all levels that are still in the frustration and instructional group in reading level. Much more, nonreaders are still present in all grade levels.”
The three did not comment on the documents or give reason why the DepEd could not show the data on the results of the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI) for past school years.
The Phil-IRI is a reading assessment tool developed by the DepEd to identify students with reading difficulties and help the teacher institute appropriate intervention for them and also for the school head to plan reading programs and activities for the school.
This correspondent had written the BLD on April 19, 2018, requesting “results of the Phil-IRI pre- and post-tests per division for SYs 2011-2012 and 2016-2017 and for the consolidated national PHIL-IRI pre and post tests results from SY 2011-2012 to SY 2016-2017.” On Nov. 6, 2018, BLD Director 4 Leila Araceli Areola replied, saying they did not have the data since “the consolidation, interpretation and analysis are done at the school level” and that the Phil-IRI is a classroom-based assessment tool.
Areola recommended going to the schools divisions for the consolidated data of their respective schools and visiting the division offices of Benguet, Baguio City and Tuguegarao City, but all said that they did not have data for the previous years. Neither could the regional offices of Region 2 and the Cordillera Administrative Region provide any.
Baguio City Division could only give the results for the English pre-test this SY, while Tuguegarao City Division gave the pre-test for English also for this year for only one of the four districts of the division.
The Phil-IRI manual requires the consolidation of the results of the reading tests at the school, district, division and regional levels with the regional reading profile submitted to the Bureau of Elementary Education of the DepEd.
Tuguinayo explained that the DepEd does not prepare a national reading profile on the rationale that the Phil-IRI is intended for classroom intervention and is already addressed at the school level.
She further said that under the old Phil-IRI, they used to consolidate the results, but in 2009, some officials of the DepEd questioned the need to maintain a national database since the concept of the Phil-IRI is to serve as a reading assessment tool at the classroom level. She alleged the DepEd then decided to cease maintaining the database.
DepEd Memorandum 266, series of 2010, dated June 10, 2010 and titled “Philippine Informal Reading Inventory Reporting and Database System,” states that “the system facilitates speedy and accurate processing and transmission of data from the schools through the divisions to the national level.”

DepEd Order 70, series of 2011, titled “Guidelines on the utilization of funds for the Every Child a Reader Program” also includes among its purposes the “management and maintenance of a database,” and of DepEd Order 50, series of 2012, titled “Guidelines on the utilization of funds for the Every Child a Reader Program,” mandates the “enhancement of existing database reporting of the Phil-IRI.”
In an email, Tuguinayo rectified her information saying it was in 2012, through DepEd Memorandum 143, series of 2012, titled “Assessment of Reading in Public Elementary Schools” when the management and maintenance of the Phil-IRI database was terminated as the issuance no longer requires the schools to submit results to the database.
The memorandum, however, states that the consolidated school reading profile “can be shared with the Regional Office (RO) and Central Office (CO) to provide valuable inputs in terms of knowledge, programming and policy formulation.”
Tuguinayo also said that they did not have the population of Grade 7 nonreaders all over the country although the Bureau of Educational Assessment had statistics for the least learned skills but not the number of nonreaders.
The DepEd officers said there was also no study yet showing that today’s children, unlike their predecessors, were no longer capable of learning to read in Grade 1. This is relative to the K to 12 timetables for learning reading, which is from Grades 1 to 3, in contrast to the traditional curriculum where pupils learned to read in Grade 1.
They said that under the K to 12, the teaching of reading in Mother Tongue, Filipino and English is no longer done just in Grade 1, but in Grades 1 to 3 in that order because a study has shown that it is important for children to learn to read in the Mother Tongue before they could learn to read in other languages.
They also could not tell when the “No Read, No Move” policy for Grade 1 was scrapped, but Jabines said that when she taught Grade 1 from 2000 to 2009, she did not pass anybody who could not read, while Tuguinayo recalled that there were no nonreaders in Grades 4 and 6 when she taught sometime in the 1990s.

Source: ESTANISLAO ALBANO JR./ manilatimes

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