By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Amid the observance of International Literacy Day today,
September 8, Senator Win Gatchalian pressed for the need to achieve
zero illiteracy nationwide.
Gatchalian recently filed two measures that will help accelerate the
universalization of literacy and address learning losses resulting
from school closures.
Senate Bill No. 2348 or the National Literacy Council Act seeks the
formulation of a three-year roadmap on the eradication of illiteracy.
The bill also aims to mobilize Local School Boards as de facto local
literacy councils and align with the implementation of the Alternative
Learning System (ALS), which was institutionalized through Republic
Act No. 11510.
Senate Bill No. 2355, on the other hand, seeks to establish a national
learning intervention program to be known as the Academic Recovery and
Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act, which will include
well-systematized tutorial sessions using various delivery modes
—face-to-face, online, and blended learning.
The proposed ARAL program seeks to prioritize Reading to develop
learners’ critical and analytical thinking skills. It also aims to
cover the most essential learning competencies on Language and
Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10, and Science for Grades 3 to 10. For
Kindergarten learners, the ARAL program will focus on strengthening
literacy and numeracy.
“Sa pagbangaon ng sektor ng edukasyon mula sa pinsalang dulot ng
pandemya, ang tuluyang pagsugpo sa illiteracy ay isa sa mga dapat
nating tutukan. Dapat nating tiyakin na ang bawat mamamayan ay may
sapat na kakayahan upang makilahok sa lipunan at makamit ang mas
magandang kinabukasan,” said Gatchalian.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and
Culture emphasized that prior to the pandemic, millions of Filipinos
were already struggling to achieve both basic and functional
literacy—a problem that COVID-19 could exacerbate because of school
closures and the disruption of other education programs.
According to the results of the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education
and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), six out of 100 Filipinos aged five
years old and above have not achieved basic literacy. This means 6
million Filipinos cannot read or write with understanding a simple
The same report pointed out that 8 percent of Filipinos aged 10 to 64
years old were functionally illiterate. This is equivalent to 6.7
million Filipinos in this age group that lack the skills to
participate fully and efficiently in daily activities, which require a
reasonable capability of communicating through a written language. (ai/mtvn)