Marcos hits DepEd for lack of effort to end illiteracy among Filipinos

By: Krissy Aguilar - INQUIRER.net - Inquirer.net | September 12,2019 - 04:16 PM

Senator Imee Marcos. INQUIRER file photo / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos expressed alarm Thursday over the seemingly lack of effort to end illiteracy in the country, pointing out the Department of Education’s (DepEd) insufficient plans in addressing the issue.

Marcos pointed out the lack of data from the DepEd regarding targets on improving the country’s functional literacy rate or the number of Filipinos able to read and write.

“Mas matalino ba ang Pilipino ngayon? Are we getting smarter? Tinitignan ko lang po yung NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority] Social Economic Report in 2018, nabibigla ako na walang mga target, walang datos, halos walang mga numero para sa DepEd,” Marcos said during the Senate hearing for DepEd’s 2020 budget.

“Doon sa functional literacy rate natin, ano ba ang nakatakda dito dahil wala po ako nakikita. Di ko malaman kung nagiging mas matalino ba tayo o hindi?” Marcos added.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the last data from the Philippine Statistics Authortiy (PSA) was in 2013 at 90.3 percent. He also stressed the agency administering the data for functional literacy rate is PSA.

“‘Yun pong functional literacy ang magmemeasure ay PSA. Ang overall po, because this is administered every five years, ang huling datos ng functional literacy natin ay 2013. At ang overall functional literacy in the Philippines ay 90.3 percent,” Malaluan said.

“Hindi po nakaatang sa Department of Education ang kabuuan ng functional literacy [rate] dahil ito’y sa mas malawak na populasyon,” he added.

While 90.3 percent of functional literacy rate “sounds like a good number,” Marcos stressed it is lower compared to neighboring countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

“The 90.3 percent sounds like a good number, however, it is one of the lowest in Asean. We have been passed by Thailand, by Malaysia who started much later,” Marcos said. “I know umaasa kayo sa PSA, wala bang plano ang DepEd para maging 100 percent katulad ng ibang bansa na katabi natin at nagsimula nang huling huli na?”

“I find it alarming that there seems to be no national effort to finally end the illiteracy in this country when in fact, we started public education way before anyone else in the region. We had the comprehensive educational system long before anyone else,” Marcos added.

Marcos then advised the DepEd to curate plans in improving the functional literacy rate by at least setting a target for the country.

“Sana man may plano tayo at higit sa lahat, magtarget naman tayo kahit paano. At magreport po tayo ng aktwal. Kasi parang walang target, walang plano e sampung persyento hindi nakakaread and write. Nakakatakot naman ata yon,” Marcos said. /jpv

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