September 20, 2021 – Education Secretary Leonor MagtolisBriones thanked educators who braved the challenge of the pandemic to continue the Department’s mission of delivering quality basic education to every Filipino child during the recently-held 2021 National Literacy Conference (NLC).

“We have striven, struggled, we have worked to continue to address the growing demands of society and the impact of the pandemic. And nevertheless, we continue our efforts in spreading, expanding the reach of literacy among our learners and population as well,” Secretary Briones said.

With the theme, ‘Literacy Learning Innovations in the New Normal Towards Sustainable Development,” Sec. Briones also emphasized to the participants that education is a fundamental human right irrespective of race, gender, nationality, ethnic origins, religion, or age.

“I’m sure you cannot imagine what it is like to live in the darkness, to be unable and deprived of the opportunity to know what is happening, to be shut-off, to be closed in, to be lockdown in your own individual existence without knowing what is happening in the rest of the world. And this is a terrible faith which we do not want to inflict on our learner or any citizen of our country,” Briones added.

Led by expert resource persons, the virtual conference provided an avenue for sharing and documentation of practices, issues, and challenges in implementing literacy programs and projects for community development.

“We want to make sure that every effort of everyone in the Philippines should be focused on making sure that the youngsters and even adult citizens are fully literate, functionally literate. COVID-19 has given us big challenges but as we have shown in the formal sector and people working in other areas, we were able to demonstrate that the challenge could be surmounted if Bayanihan is at work,” Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said.

“I hope our resolve is to make sure that even if there are constraints, we will not stop finding ways of ensuring that every Filipino can possess the foundational literacy skills that they need for them to survive, if not thrive, in this 21st century. We know times are challenging, but with resilience and innovation, I am truly confident that the efforts towards higher literacy rates for our country will be successful,” Usec. San Antonio added.

Spearheaded by the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), the 2021 NLC is in conjunction with the celebration of the National Literacy Week as stipulated in Presidential Proclamation No. 239, s. 1993, “Declaring the Period from September 2-8 of every year as Literacy Week and in DepEd Memorandum No. 72, s. 2019 on the “Annual Celebration of the National Literacy Week.”