DepEd: At least 10,000 pupils undergoing subject refreshers

The Department of Education (DepEd) in Catanduanes last week officially launched its three-year Learning Recovery Plan intended to provide refreshers to at least 10,000 learners with low levels of mastery of their subjects in previous grade levels.

GOVERNOR JOSEPH CUA (in black), flanked by DepEd RD Gilbert Sadsad and SDS Susan Collano, was invited along with PBM Robert Fernandez (by the DepEd Catanduanes to last week’s launching of its Learning Recovery Plan in which LGUs would play a vital role.

The division disclosed that it began implementing the plan, dubbed as CARE in RAISE (Commitment, Accountability, Resiliency and Excellence in Recovering for Academic achievement by Improving instruction thru Sustainable Evidence-based learning programs), during the fourth quarter of School Year 2021-2022.

The LRP aims to ensure that the present generation of learners does not suffer a disadvantage in comparison to past and future generations, Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Susan Collano said.

It also seeks to ascertain that the cohort of learners fully recovers learning lost during the pandemic and give priority to remedial or accelerated education approaches to address challenges and get all learners to grade-level proficiency.

Furthermore, she stated, the plan would invest appropriate resources to offset the learning losses, minimize drop-out rates and mitigate the potential downstream of economic, labor market and social impacts.

Last May 17, 2022, DepEd Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad and Assistant Regional Director Ronel Al Firmo joined Governor Joseph Cua and Sangguniang Panlalawigan education committee chair PBM Robert Fernandez in hearing the report of the Catanduanes division on the LRP.

In his message, Dir. Sadsad acknowledged that despite successfully adjusting to the pandemic over the last two years, the country’s educational system has been confronted with major challenges in the teaching and learning process that affected the development of learners, especially the young and vulnerable.

“We have been informed by the different institutions concerning education and children’s welfare, such as World Bank and UNICEF that there is an emerging and alarming learning loss amongst our learner, most especially in the early grades,” he stated.

For several months, now, the Deped Bicol chief bared, his office has been assessing gains and losses and weighing its options on how it can best respond to the needs of the learners.

The LRP for the region, conceptualized through the collaborative efforts of the 13 schools divisions, education stakeholders and partners, will initially focus on Grades 1 to 3 learners along literacy and numeracy for the next three years, he added.

For his part, Assistant RD Ronel Al Firmo lauded SDO Catanduanes for being the first to launch the Learning Recovery Plan not only in Bicol but also in the entire Philippines.

Under the plan, the regional office will analyze the results of the Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA) developed by ABC+ Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines and then implement the literacy program by the start of the next school year.

In his response, Gov. Cua assured the education officials that the provincial government will provide all the necessary assistance to DepEd and SDO in order to effectively implement the LRP.

During the launching at Queen Maricel Inn in Virac, SDO Catanduanes presented the pre-pandemic literacy status of Bicol pupils: learners are reading moderately well on average but generally below expectations; 10% of learners are non-readers and nearly 25% of Central Bikol speakers are not able to understand simple text in their Mother Tongue; comprehension and decoding skills are under-developed for Grade 2 learners; and, children who are reading fluently and with comprehension in the Mother Tongue are transitioning well to Filipino.

The division also disclosed the results of the Beginning of School Year CRLA, which determines students’ level of mastery of previous grade level reading concepts and skills, with focus on alphabet knowledge and decoding, and their readiness to learn new reading concepts and skills for their current grade level.

According to the report, 145 students out of the 106,477 leaners from Grades 1 to 12 have failing grades and 455 Kindergarten learners have significant and slight delay in their Philippine Early Childhood Development (PECD) indicators.

The CRLA data showed that a total of 10,257 learners in Grades 1 to 3 are considered full refresher learners in the Mother Tongue, along with 4,310 Grades 2-3 learners in Filipino and 864 Grade 3 learners in English.

Those with full refresher reading profiles need to be retaught previous grade level reading concepts and skills.

On the other hand, several thousand learners are also considered moderate refreshers, who have a grasp of previous grade level reading concepts and skills but need a lot of practice and guidance while light refreshers just need practice for accuracy.

The assessment also determined that 22 school heads and 229 teachers need training on Early Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (ELLN), which will capacitate them on the basic knowledge and pedagogical skills in literacy and numeracy and in establishing and managing a school-based mentoring/learning partnership program.

On the other hand, 84 of the 234 elementary schools in Catanduanes and 40 of the 42 secondary schools do not have School Reading Intervention Activities (SRIA), the report added.

Among the 20 schools with the most number of learners needing full refresher are Virac Pilot ES, Pandan ES, Tubli ES, Manambrag ES, Buyo Integrated School, Dariao ES, Caramoran Central ES, San Andres Central ES, Cabcab Central ES, Dugui Too ES, Mabini ES (Caramoran), Gigmoto Central ES, Lourdes ES, Panique ES, Virac Central ESm Mayngaway ES, Gogon ES, Palta ES, Baras Central ES and Codon ES.

Nine districts that contribute to 80% of learners needing full refresher were identified as Virac North, Caramoran North, Virac South, San Andres West, Pandan West, San Andres East, Caramoran South, Pandan East and Panganiban.

Through the Learning Recovery Plan, SDO Catanduanes hopes to address the gaps in learning by the end of 2023 by achieving 100% readers and numerates for K-3 leaners and at least 75% performance level of all learners in all learning areas.

It will seek to accomplish the goal through the provision of developmentally-appropriate learning resources; adoption of Mastery Learning, Explicit Teaching and Differentiated Instruction approaches integrative of Social Emotional Learning method; institutionalized and continuous teaching skills enhancement program, and; utilization of appropriate learning assessment strategies that address the gaps in the acquisition of competencies for academic achievement.

In the press conference that followed, SDS Collano said that they invited the governor and PBM Fernandez so they would be aware of the LRP and then convene the Provincial School Board so that it would be included in the Work and Financial Plans of the schools.

She also said that priorities for the municipal School Board Fund would need to be realigned to take the LRP into account.

Regarding the status of the school repairs, the SDS said that while 90% of the schools in the first batch have been completed, there are still damaged schools which have remained unfunded until now.

Dr. Collano shared that her office has already made a series of follow-ups with the regional office regarding the unrepaired schools in Catanduanes as the repair of the schools is not in control of the SDO, which lacks the resources for such an endeavor.

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