MANILA CITY, February 17, 2020 – In response to a news story on Bicol learners, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday explained that the report on the number of non-readers was premature and needs proper context.
DepEd clarified that the figure of 70,000 elementary students reported as being non-readers in both English and Filipino was raw data and is still for validation. It was a local pre-test result of the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI), which was conducted to determine interventions needed by learners.
“It’s not a no-read, no-write case. Phil-IRI is an assessment tool of DepEd to determine whether the reading proficiency of a student is appropriate to their grade, it does not mean they do not know how to read,” clarified Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.
“Maging maingat lang tayo sa pag-interpret nitong mga numero at salita. Let’s be precise in our words and put the right context when reporting data. In this situation, there are levels of reading literacy and we cannot conclude that these learners [in Bicol] do not know how to read,” emphasized Briones.
Phil-IRI is conducted at the beginning of school year to identify students in Grades 4-6 in English and Grades 3-6 in Filipino that need additional intervention in reading.
Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instructions Diosdado San Antonio further clarified that a Phil-IRI post-test will still be administered at the end of school year to complete the analysis of data. He cited significant improvements of learners’ reading proficiency were often observed at the latter part of the school year.
Earlier, DepEd launched Bawat Bata Bumabasa (3Bs) initiative last November 2019 as part of the larger campaign Sulong Edukalidad which aims to raise the quality of basic education in the country.
The 3Bs encouraged offices from central to division level and schools to intensify their advocacies for reading to make every learner a reader at their grade level and capacitate teachers to become effective reading instructors.
Secretary Briones, for her part, started visiting top performing public schools nationwide in PISA to gain additional insights on their best practices in Reading, Math, and Science. Last January 31, she visited Baguio City National High School in Benguet, which earned the distinction of getting one of the best Reading scores in the country. Among the identified best practices by BCNHS were involving parents in the reading activities, providing appropriate reading remediation activities, and maximizing participation of all students in reading-related activities.