ACT calls for
release of nationwide reading inventory report
February 18, 2020
QUEZON CITY – Amid
reports on the reading proficiency issues of pupils in Bicol, the
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines calls on the
Department of Education (DepEd) to make public the detailed report
of the reading inventory done by the Philippine Informal Reading
Inventory (Phil-IRI) in every region nationwide. The group said that
DepEd Sec. 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 Joselyn Martinez, ACT
Martinez advised the
education agency ‘not to be onion-skinned’ on the issue and
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. She also warned against the
‘simplistic’ tendency to put the blame on the teachers’ capabilities
and dedication to teach pupils how to read, but to look at the whole
Congested K-12 Curriculum
Martinez raised the
practical problem of less time allocated to honing the reading
skills of students with the inclusion of more learning areas in the
Grades 1 and 2 curriculum of the K to 12 program, compared to past
education curricula implemented in the country. Under the K to 12
program, 40 to 50 minutes is allocated for each of the 7 subject
areas compared to 1 hour for each of the 5 subjects before.
“Our primary education
teachers lament of insufficient class hours dedicated to honing the
reading skills of students, which they are compelled to make up by
conducting special reading classes outside of regular class hours.
Unlike before where primary education gives significant attention to
the 3Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic,” Martinez shared.
She said that teachers
have little elbow room 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.
Amidst these, Martinez said that DepEd further presses teachers to
be “more innovative and sacrificing.”
“Yet, teachers are made to
carry the brunt of this weakness in the curriculum as we are obliged
to work extra hours for special reading classes on school days and
even during summer vacation,” Martinez lamented.
Martinez also stressed the
many government deficiencies in creating an enabling working and
learning environment for teachers and pupils as hindrances to
developing the reading competency of learners. She cited the large
class size and inadequate textbooks and other learning materials as
contributory to their difficulties in teaching pupils how to read.
“With years of the
government’s failure to fill in the shortages in the educational
system, the teachers carry everyday the burden of ensuring that ‘no
learner is left behind,’” said Martinez.
ACT also noted that with K
to 12 implementation came a host of paperworks and non-teaching
duties that take teachers away from their focus in teaching, while
teachers’ compensation does not measure to the volume and value of
“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?” asked Martinez.
Assessing K-12 from the
ACT pushed for an
inclusive and comprehensive assessment of the K to 12 program that
would 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,” asserted Martinez.
She said that teachers and
parents alike are “very much concerned with what and how we train
our students as the future of our children and our nation is what’s
ACT pushes 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.