The World Vision Development Foundation, through the Education Network (E-Net) Philippines and Open Government Partnership CSO Education Cluster organized the Brigada Pagbasa Partners’ Convergence webinar, in coordination with the Department of Education External Partnerships Service on September 22, 2021 via Zoom teleconference and broadcasted simultaneously via DepEd Philippines and its partners’ Facebook pages.
The Brigada Pagbasa campaign aims to help Filipino children to become functionally literate and contributes to empowering parents, caregivers, community volunteers, and education stakeholders within the context of transparency and local accountability by creating a link between partners and vulnerable communities to support last-mile learners and ensure access to after-school structured literacy development programs.
World Vision Development Foundation Executive Director Rommel V. Fuerte delivered his welcome remarks, acknowledging the presence of DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and Undersecretary Tonisito M. Umali, Esq., who will serve as keynote speakers in this webinar campaign. Director Fuerte shared the success of their Brigada Pagbasa partnerships, with companies, organizations, and individuals committed to improving the academic performance of Filipino children.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones congratulated World Vision Foundation and its partners for organizing the Brigada Pagbasa campaign, in relation to DepEd’s learning continuity program. She shared that the Department is holding on to its advocacy and commitment to providing quality basic education despite the lockdowns, cancellation of classes, and precautions undertaken due to COVID-19. The Secretary thanked the foundation for its initiatives in forming, leading, and conceptualizing the idea of Brigada Pagbasa. She emphasized that Brigada Pagbasa is a massive campaign that envisions bringing together experts, change-makers, policymakers, and stakeholders across local and international agencies and organizations to form collaborations, cooperation, and joint projects to address education-related challenges and contribute possible solutions.
Secretary Briones hoped for the success of the campaign and thanked those who believed in the Department and supported the idea and advocacy that learning must continue. She also added that this event aims to provide sharing of good practices and reiterated that everyone should strengthen their belief that there is good in continuing education despite the challenges.
DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships and Project Management Service Tonisito M. C. Umali, Esq., talked about the increased enrollment rate for this school year, with over 28 million public and private school enrollees. He shared the challenges and struggles experienced not only by parents, teachers, and children but also by the Department. Usec. Umali also mentioned the recently approved pilot testing of face-to-face learning to over 120 public and private schools around the country. He emphasized that the number of approved schools for pilot testing is very low compared to around 60,000 total public and private schools in the Philippines.
Usec. Tonisito M. C. Umali reiterated the need for the Brigada Pagbasa campaign as most children face struggles in the blended learning modality being implemented in schools all over the country. He also pointed out that lack of gadgets and difficulties in connectivity results in lack of learning among Filipino children. Usec. Umali shared the importance of DepEd’s partnership with the World Vision Foundation in this campaign to ensure that children read and understand what they are reading.
E-Net Philippines President Flora C. Arellano extended her appreciation and gratitude to the Department of Education, through Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and Usec. Tonisito M. C. Umali, and all their partners and stakeholders who helped in the Brigada Pagbasa movement. She also emphasized that National Literacy Month is a reminder that an important aspect of the right to education is literacy and basic education. Prof. Arellano also said that literacy makes it easier for individuals to find employment and to perform well in any undertakings.
The LCC and its Secretariat fully support the Brigada Pabasa program and commend its organizers and implementers, for this convergence is indeed a strategic move to collectively advocate universalization of literacy, especially to socially disadvantaged learners and adults in the country.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organized a webinar discussion on the state of education around the world and the findings from its newly released Education at a Glance 2021 edition on September 21, 2021 via Zoom teleconference and broadcasted live via OECD Education and Skills Facebook page.
OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher presented the findings and key data from Education at a Glance 2021. The report is an authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. Education at a Glance 2021 edition provides data on the structure, finances, and performance of education systems across OECD countries and partner economies.
During his presentation, Schleicher mentioned that education system across the world was disrupted during the pandemic. He reiterated that schools were closed for longer period of time in countries with lower education performance. Schleicher highlighted that students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at higher risk of disengaging from remote learning during these trying times. He discussed the reasons why students are deterred from pursuing tertiary education, citing high tuition fee as the main cause. He also tackled inequality in work environment wherein he pointed out that having poor education amplifies risk in the labor market. He presented data on the secondary attainment across OECD countries, where majority of India’s young people did not finish high school compared to only few people in Korea.
Schleicher said that education matters a lot in employment but emphasized that a tertiary degree does not always lead to a job in migrants’ host country nor to higher earnings. One of the highlights of his discussion is his call in countries to invest on teachers and increase their salaries.
When asked about making teaching attractive regardless of salaries, Schleicher recommended trying opportunities for personal development, in the way, which they can fulfill their mission, as well as spending time with students out of the instructional settings and contributing to the profession, apart from providing good pay to them. He shared that most countries spent massive in education as they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LCC Secretariat wishes to extend its appreciation to OECD for engaging us in this thorough discussion on education status around the world, which will be more helpful in our advocacy to universalize literacy and uphold quality education at the local context.
On September 20, 2021, during the conduct of the 147th LCC Meeting held via Microsoft (MS) Teams, the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) officially issued LCC Resolution No. 01, s. 2021, entitled “Adopting the Guidelines on the Foundational Framework and Analytic Scoring Rubric for Exemplary Community-Based Literacy Programs and Engagement Developed by The Literacy Coordinating Council for Application, Dissemination, and Implementation at the Local Level.” Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Diosdado M. San Antonio, the LCC Chair presided over the approval of the Resolution, among other agenda items of the Council Meeting.
The said Resolution is a result of the completed research studies on literacy conducted by the LCC, through the Philippine Normal University. In order to translate the Framework and Analytic Scoring Rubric, or M&E Tool on Exemplary Community-Based Literacy Programs and Engagement into a policy, the Council has unanimously approved the issuance of the Resolution for national adoption and implementation.
Subsequent to this, a similar policy will also be issued by DepEd. The LCCS has already submitted the draft policy on its proposed national adoption of the Framework and M&E Tool through the issuance of a DepEd Order. This DepEd policy aims to provide guidance to all teachers implementing literacy programs at the community level and help ensure that the programs that they develop and manage are exemplary and at par with the standards set by the LCC. As of this writing, the DepEd Order is still awaiting approval.
Furthermore, a Memorandum Circular will also be issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in congruence to the provisions of the Resolution. This national-level issuance is expected to yield maximum participation and support from the Local Government Units (LGU) in the conduct of their self-implemented local literacy programs.
In partnership with E-Net Philippines, ongoing coordination with Nongovernment Organizations (NGO) who are into literacy advocacy is also being initiated by the Secretariat to ensure that other private organizations adopt the standards.
Conduct of capacity building activities to literacy program implementers from DepEd, LGUs, and NGOs relative to the utilization of the Framework and M&E Tool in the succeeding Fiscal Years will also be spearheaded by the Council. Prior to this, orientation workshops on the said topics were already conducted to LGUs, NGOs, and some DepEd teachers on April 29, May 5 and 17, 2021 via MS Teams, simultaneously livestreamed via DepEd and LCC’s FB Pages.
Aside from this, the LCCS will be collaborating with the Council members in advocating the adoption of the Resolution through the development of pertinent Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for use in their respective agencies. Meanwhile, the LCCS already prepared the infographics for the said Framework and M&E Tool which will be further promoted through LCC’s website and Facebook (FB) Page. The Secretariat will also closely coordinate with the DepEd’s Public Affairs Service for these materials to be featured in the Department’s digital and social media platforms.
The LCC hopes that this issuance would contribute to our efforts in achieving a zero illiterate Philippines.
Are you a literacy program administrator, implementer or partner at the local communities? Do you want to know if your community-based literacy program is exemplary and at par with the standards? What framework should you follow and what Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Tool should you use?
Check out these infographics to learn how to develop and manage effective literacy programs at the community level. To have a copy of the LCC’s Framework and Tool, please click these links: bit.ly/Final_LCC_Handbook and bit.ly/LCC_Rubric.
Two days ago, the Department of Education took pride as it launched its K to 12 Issues and Trends Explored (K.I.T.E.) Journal broadcasted via DepEd Philippines’ Facebook Page. The said journal is the Curriculum and Instruction (CI) Strand’s initiative envisioned to serve as as the e-Publication for Academic Papers and Researches. It is also a quarterly publication of peer-reviewed academic and scholarly articles on issues and trends of K to 12. The said virtual launch was hosted by Mr. Jose Adrian Fernandez of the Office of the Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction (OUCI) and Ms. Abigail Alviz of Bureau of Education Assessment (BEA).
In line with the celebration of the opening of the classes for School Year 2021-2022, Secretary Leonor Briones, recognized the inspiration shown by the stakeholders in its continuous efforts in promulgating education for all. The DepEd Chief emphasized that “education is a shared responsibility” which requires commitment and collaboration from all agencies, parents and individuals who have interest in education. She also gave her heartfelt gratitude to the DepEd officials, teachers, parents, external partners who have shown their utmost support even pre-pandemic. This has exemplified the spirit of bayanihan and the service rendered to all learners.
After the preliminaries, Dr. Celedonio Balderas, Jr., Editor-in-Chief of the journal, said that under the leadership of Sec. Briones, the quality education reform of K to12 is anchored to the 4 quadrants of the DepEd kite which are: (1) K to 12 Curriculum Review and Update, (2) Improving the Learning Environment, (3) Teachers’ Upskilling and Reskilling, and (4) Engagement of Stakeholders for Support and Collaboration. Complimentary to the reforms is the publication of K.I.T.E. Journal which highlights the informed actions embedded in research and is highly regarded as significant documents to the K to 12 Issues and Trends Explored. He closed his opening message by saying, “Education sector makes learning bountiful by doing research. Being the primal mandate of the Department, it grows a community of educators that cultivates a culture of research. This also serves as an inclusive platform for education research publication for knowledge sharing of best practices of stakeholders for utilization and adoption for quality teaching, and for continuous improvement purposes.”
Curriculum and Instruction Bureau Directors:
Then, the CI bureau directors proceeded on explaining how the journal was first introduced to the Department until its realization through the website. BEA Director and Editorial Team Member Nelia Benito recalled that the call for submission and review of articles for K.I.T.E. Journal was done on September 2, 2020 through DM-CI-2020-00238. While Bureau of Curriculum Development Director and Editorial Team Member Joyce Andaya showed the interface of the relative website homepage. She said that it features the CI Strand News and Updates pertaining to its current events, issuances and notifications to invitations for webinars and fora. Director Leila Areola of Bureau of Learning Delivery and Editorial Team Member quoted the online journal as “a wealth of information for policy development, improvement, educational practices and proposals for educational innovations.” She explained that the main theme of the journal for this year is the preparations and milestones for distance learning implementation; however, other studies conducted in pre-pandemic found valuable and relevant were also included in the publication. Meanwhile, both Editorial Team Members, Atty. Ariz Delson Acay Cawilan of Bureau of Learning Resources and Director Marilette Almayda of Alternative Learning System Task Force educated the participants on the use of the “Projects and Innovations” and the “Technical Reports” Tabs, respectively. Lastly, Teacher Education Council Secretariat Executive Director and Editorial Team Member Runvi Manguera showed the navigation of the “Submit an Article” which in turn, he also encouraged everyone to submit articles following the criteria posted in the said tab.
For the Closing Messages, Assistant Secretary for CI, Dr. Alma Ruby Torio, said that the journal was born out of the relentless determination of the Department to provide quality basic education due to the drastically changing world. She also congratulated everyone who has undeniably given time and effort to materialize this initiative. She reaffirmed the steadfastness and unity taken by DepEd through innovations such as introducing and distributing self-learning modules, launching of online learning management systems, developing TV and radio-based lessons, conducting professional development of teachers online and so much more. This was further emphasized by Undersecretary for CI, Dr. Diosdado San Antonio, stating, “with the support of the local and international partners embedded with data-driven literacy approach, we will carry on and confront the challenges on quality basic education foreseeing an innovative Philippine education adaptive to the rapidly changing world.” He also talked about the importance of the teachers and school heads in improving the outcomes for all learners as they are the ones who translate and shape curriculum goals and theoretical ideas into classroom practices and who have immediate control in shaping the environment for learning in collaboration with stakeholders. He closed his speech with the hope that the first issuance of the journal will be a strong beginning. He left everyone with a challenge to fill the gaps, extend the evidence-based approach and anchor the findings in the local context.
Certifications for the Publication, Contributors and Peer Reviewers for the Volume 1 of the K.I.T.E. Journal were awarded by Ms. Alvis, Style Language Editor, and Mr. Enrico Totañes, Layout Artist of the journal.
The 2 technical reports of the LCC-initiated research studies on literacy are also included in the said first issuance of the journal. They are accessible at: https://kitejournal.online/?page_id=243 with the titles: 1) National Validation of the Foundational Framework for Exemplary Community-Based Literacy Programs and Engagement, and 2) A Foundational Framework for Exemplary Community- Based Literacy Programs and Engagement: Basis for Policy Development.
The Department of Education, through the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), organized a three-day Psychological First Aid (PFA) Training for its Central Office employees from September 8-10, 2021 via Zoom.
DRRMS Director IV Ronilda Co discussed the significance of this training to all personnel and emphasized the need to provide a PFA trainer and support in each office. Training facilitators from various regions in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao joined the webinar for the three-day event.
DRRMS Project Development Officer IV Mr. Orlando Barachina thoroughly explained the legal bases and mandate of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management as well as its basic terminologies. He also shared the vulnerability of the Philippines in terms of hazards.
Meanwhile, Professor Yeng Gatchalian, RPsy served as the first resource speaker wherein she highlighted the importance of giving remote PFA to colleagues and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic. She urged everyone to put his or her heart on the training and provided insightful messages that would help training participants to further broaden their knowledge not only on PFA, but to the whole mental aspect. One of the highlights of Prof. Gatchalian’s presentation was her discussion on the three Action Principles: Look, Listen, and Link wherein she encouraged everyone to understand the person’s situation, perceived dangers and needs. She also added that listening attentively is important when talking to a person. Prof. Yang emphasized the need to enhance sense of control, support good personal choices, and encourage seeking support. For the second core action Listen, Prof. Yang reiterated that empathy is way different from sympathy and that people can show their warmth through showing attention, affirmation, and by using a calm tone. As per the third core action, Link, Prof. Gatchalian, reminded to always ask if further help is needed and to always check on the person.
On Day 2 of the PFA training, the participants listened again to Prof. Gatchalian’s topic entitled “On Grief and Loss.” Her talk dealt with the encompassing meaning and varied manifestations of grief to people. She explained that grief is not limited to death but a reaction to any form of loss, including jobs, loved ones, etc. She reminded everyone that all feelings are valid, including grief. Everyone is entitled to emotions; however, it is the behaviors that entail with it that must be carefully observed. She elaborated as well that grief may be coped with not but stopping it but by letting oneself go through with it. Other topics she covered were the three models of grief, type of griefs, difference of grief and depression, and grief counselling.
Afterwards, she proceeded on the “self-care.” She shared practical ways on how one can take care of his/her overall well-being especially as PFA providers. She introduced the ARMS method which stands for Aware, Recognize, Manage and “Salamat.” She encouraged everyone to be aware of or reset his/her baseline, if applicable, and establish awareness of stressors. Next, start recognizing the difficulties and accept that it is okay to have a trial and error. Once done with these, it is the time to manage behaviors and routines and take time to recharge and switch off from work from time to time. Lastly, she urged everyone not to forget saying “salamat” and appreciating even the most little things in life.
Aside from the informative and enlightening discussions facilitated by Prof. Gatchalian, other activities held on the second day of the training were the role-playing of PFA providers led by the national PFA trainers, and the monitoring and evaluation tool being used by the DRRMS relative to the conduct and completion of PFAs in DepEd, covered Ms. Amina Aisa Boncales of DRRMS.
On the last day of the training, the participants went through an Art-based Kumustahan Session spearheaded by MAGIS, an invited group of psychologists and facilitators who carried out different activities focusing on grief and loss. On this session, the participants were able to experience different ways of relaxing one’s self, express their thoughts and emotions involved in grief and loss through the Mask Making Activity and share themselves and support one another through the break-out session. During the debriefing, the participants were reminded that all emotions are valid and must be acknowledged. Grief may linger for the longest time but it can also co-exist with love, strength, joy, beauty and gratitude along the way.
The 3-day training was concluded with the reading of the poem entitled “today, perhaps” by Therese Jose and Dr. Co assuring all participants that relative trainings and kumustahan sessions are in place to ensure the overall well-being of the employees are prioritized.
Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 329, s. 1993, the LCC spearheaded the celebration of 2021 National Literacy Week (NLW) from September 2 to 8. This annual event aims to: 1) generate awareness and appreciation of literacy programs and projects, 2) highlight the role of education in the eradication of illiteracy, and 3) create interest and understanding of issues and concerns related to literacy among various sectors, among others.
The major activity of the said celebration was the virtual conduct of the 2021 National Literacy Conference (NLC) dated September 6-7, 2021. Through this event, literacy experts, administrators, implementers, partners and advocates both from DepEd and other sectors were able to converge, discuss emerging and persistent issues and concerns on literacy and provide policy recommendations especially at the height of pandemic and implementation of Alternative Delivery Modes. Aside from that, the LCC Secretariat (LCCS) also facilitated the Call for Entries for Public Service Announcement Videos on Literacy. This initiative intended to feature the best practices on literacy nationwide through the use of media. Moreover, the Council joined the Philippine Normal University, one of its Council Members, in the conduct of Multisectoral Conversation on Literacy in line with the celebration of International Literacy Day on September 8, 2021.
Even amidst the ongoing pandemic, the active support of the DepEd community and other literacy stakeholders to LCC has undeniably become evident during the celebration of the NLW. In fact, various literacy advocates and partners also shared online their respective literacy programs and projects using the official NLW hashtags while others utilized the NLW Facebook frame to demonstrate their concordance, unity and burning passion in pursuit of universalized literacy for all. Hence, the Council and the LCCS appreciate everyone who made the success of the celebration possible.
Indeed, words are not enough to truly capture all existing literacy efforts at the grassroots level and the tremendous commitment and selfless love it took to bring us all where we are today. The Council and the LCC Secretariat would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who continuously champions literacy.
We look forward to working with you in the future and seeing you all again next year! May our burning passion for literacy continue, not only during the National Literacy Week celebration but all year long!
The Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) held its first-ever virtual National Literacy Conference (NLC) on September 6-7, 2021 in conjunction with the celebration of the National Literacy Week as stipulated in Presidential Proclamation No. 239, s. 1993. The Conference was held via Microsoft Teams and broadcasted simultaneously via DepEd, LCC, and its partner institutions’ Facebook pages.
In its pursuit of universalizing literacy, the theme for this year’s NLC is “Literacy Learning Innovations in the New Normal Towards Sustainable Development.” The Conference addressed the following objectives: a) present the current literacy situation in the country; b) share practices on addressing challenges and opportunities in literacy education; c) showcase researches on literacy education during the pandemic; and d) discuss policy recommendations on the achievement of SDG 4.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones graced the opening program, emphasizing DepEd’s commitment to promoting inclusive literacy despite any challenges. She also hoped for the success of the two-day Conference. Secretary Briones also assured everyone that the Department would continue delivering quality basic education to every Filipino child despite the health crisis. She also emphasized the importance of linkages and thanked all partners and stakeholders for implementing literacy initiatives. Secretary Briones also called on everyone to continue addressing education issues by producing more literacy champions and becoming globally competitive.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction and LCC Chairperson, Dr. Diosdado M. San Antonio highlighted the importance of Bayanihan and called for the continuous support of both national and local governments in advocating literacy programs and projects in the country. He also promised to continue finding ways in ensuring every Filipino can possess the foundational literacy skills needed to survive.
SEAMEO Secretariat Director Dr. Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela emphasized that literacy empowers the youth and allows people to be responsible citizens of their country. She also expressed her concern about the number of youths and adults lacking basic literacy globally. Dr. Valenzuela mentioned the need for equitable learning for all and provided some topics that must be included in literacies such as gender equality and climate change.
LCC invited prestigious speakers for each plenary session. The Philippine Statistics Authority’s Assistant National Statistician Wilma A. Guillen and Senior Research Fellow of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies Dr. Jose Ramon G. Albert thoroughly presented the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) results and the importance of literacy research in the new normal. On the other hand, Ms. Susan M. Carandang, Supervising Economic Development Specialist from the National Economic and Development Authority facilitated and moderated the Plenary I discussion. Concerns such as digital illiteracy among elders and out-of-school youth problems were addressed by Ms. Guillen and Dr. Albert during the open forum.
LCC Secretariat Head Mr. Enrico R. Mendoza facilitated the introduction of esteemed guest speakers in Plenary II. DepEd’s Bureau of Learning Delivery Director Leila P. Areola tackled the topic “Blended Distance Learning: Delivering Learning During COVID-19 Pandemic,” followed by the presentation on the Alternative Learning System Updates by Assistant Secretary G.H. S. Ambat. For the third subtopic, TESDA’s Executive Director David B. Bungallon provided insights on Philippine TVET initiatives amidst the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and the 4th Industrial Revolution. The Day 1 of the Conference ended fruitfully with participants invited again to join the Day 2 of the Conference. Participants used the opportunity to ask questions to the guest speakers regarding their concerns on remunerations, incentives and allowances being received by the DepEd and ALS teachers, among other concerns.
Interesting topics were also tackled on the Day 2 of the Conference. Not everyone is familiar with the word Pandemogogy, derived from the words pandemic and pedagogy, which means the method of teaching during the pandemic. Dr. Isabel Martin from the Ateneo de Manila University and Dr. Eva Wong, former Director of the Hong Kong Baptist University both delved into the discussion on that subject in Plenary III, with an explanation on how local and international schools handle the massive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion was facilitated and moderated by Dr. Heidi Macahilig, LCC member representative and Associate Dean, Graduate Teacher Education Faculty, College of Graduate Studies and Teacher Education Research from the Philippine Normal University.
Various basic education policy recommendations in the new normal were presented by Mr. Nemesio O. Malatamban III, one of the LCC member representatives and Supervising Legislative Staff Officer II from the House of Representatives. NLC participants were active during the open forum and raised several concerns regarding the implementation of these policy recommendations. They also hoped for proper dissemination of laws and engagement of stakeholders in monitoring the implementation of laws.
Participants were assigned to their respective breakout rooms during the breakout session. Through the assistance of the designated facilitators and LCC Secretariat personnel, they were able to identify the initiatives in the community/organization, their issues and concerns, as well as the policy recommendations in the following topics: 2019 FLEMMS Results and Literacy Research in the New Normal, Blended and Flexible Learning, and Pandemogogy. Afterwards, the nominated rapporteurs in the three rooms presented their outputs in the main plenary room. Facilitators of the Breakout Session were E-Net Philippines Ms. Vichelle Yumuya, DILG’s Ms. Evelyn Castro, and LCC TWG Member Ms. Ma. Cristina M. Gonzales.
Education for Life Philippines Chairperson Mr. Edicio G. Dela Torre shared a brief, but inspirational synthesis highlighting the importance of lifelong learning. Participants expressed their appreciation to Mr. Dela Torre’s message through an evaluation form which they filled out after the Conference. NEDA Director IV Girlie Grace J. Casimiro-Igtiben delivered her closing message, conveying her gratitude to all the participants of this year’s Conference, and hoped to see them again in the future activities of LCC.
The conduct of the National Literacy Conference served as a venue for sharing experiences in implementing literacy programs and projects for community development. The Literacy Coordinating Council wishes to express its gratitude to all the literacy partners and stakeholders who supported them throughout the implementation of its programs, projects, and activities.
In celebration of the International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 with the theme “Literacy for a Human-Centered Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide,” the Philippine Normal University (PNU), the National Center for Teacher Education and the United Nations Association Philippines (UNAP) in partnership with the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), DepEd-International Cooperation Office (ICO) and UNESCO conducted the Multisectoral Conversation on Literacy on September 8, 2021 via Zoom. The said forum aimed to: 1) build awareness on various technology-enabled literacy practices and initiatives developed and implemented by different stakeholders of education, 2) identify issues, concerns and challenges on literacy, and 3) propose solutions to address different challenges encountered in promoting literacy for human-centered recovery. The said event was well-attended by educators from public and private institutions and representatives from government agencies among others in Zoom which was also simultaneously broadcasted in PNU’s and LCC’s Facebook Pages.
Hosted by Dr. April Ann Curugan, the said event commenced with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem followed by video presentations from the PNU. During the Opening Remarks, Dr. Bert Tuga, President of PNU, mentioned that the current situation brought about by the pandemic has magnified the challenges in education and made it more fragile. However, the fact that the ILD is being celebrated all over the world, it proves that hope may still be found in every situation. He also said that we must prioritize resiliency and sustainability as two of the pillars of the human-centered recovery plan. Meanwhile, Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones shared to the participants some of the agency’s best literacy practices which were the establishment and strengthening of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP), synchronization of priorities of different strands and offices, augmentation of the information and communication technology service even amidst the pandemic and the digital divide. Dr. Editha Pillo, President of UNAP, reminded everyone that at these challenging times, we are tasked to assist the humanity and the development of a strong sense of well-being, to narrow the ignorance, to advance literacy, to equip the people with the skills and to open opportunities towards quality education. For Dr. Diosdado San Antonio, LCC Chairperson and DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction, he said that the education has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 but it has also made everyone passionate of learning continuity, accountable of securing a safe environment for the learners and involved in the practice of “bayanihan.” Also, Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, Office-in-Charge of the Philippine National Commission (PNC) for UNESCO, tackled the aggregated results of functional literacy rate based on the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) and the importance of making inclusive technology regardless of the modality involved. He highlighted the cities and municipalities in the country that have local LCCs and that were recognized for their remarkable contributions in promulgating literacy. He closed his speech by saying, “We should not just reminisce but rather rehearse the ancient wisdom especially in human recovery.”
As for the Keynote Address, Dr. Dina Joana Ocampo, Professor of Reading Education, College of Education from the University of the Philippines, and Former Undersecretary for DepEd’s Programs and Projects, started her presentation with the adverse effects and impacts of COVID-19 mutisectoral, principles of human-centered recovery and diminishing the digital divide. She mentioned that children suffer from social disconnection due to the loss of contact and inability to play in the past months caused by the schools closure. She also emphasized that the key to human centered recovery is investing in people and institutions that protect them. She posed questions whether if people were being put first and considered in different offices. She also asked if people were ready for possibilities for other lockdown or blended learning and if they have been able to emerge in roles that they can draw into and train themselves for the incoming new ones. She highlighted that everyone must grapple in the evolving definition of literacy to narrow the digital divide. To further do this, one must acknowledge it and apply the 8 core skills namely: 1) Reading, 2) Writing, 3) Viewing, 4) Listening, 5) Speaking, 6) Making Meaning, 7) Technology and 8) Creativity in different contexts. Workers must also develop lifelong learning through multiliteracies such as computer and financial literacies. These will help them adapt to change which can also be achieved through upskilling and cross-skilling. As a conclusion, she left the participants with the thought, “We need to embrace the new definition of literacy which includes technology and creativity. We need to prepare learners for all the multiliteracies they need so they can survive the world that is coming to them. We cannot go back to the normal anymore… we need a new world; therefore, new strategies and we need new teachers who can bring children forward confident and powerful.”
For the next part of the program, a Panel Discussion has been facilitated starting with Dr. Heidi Macahilig, Associate Dean of the Graduate Teacher Education Faculty, College of Graduate Studies and Teacher Education Research of PNU, followed by Dr. Teresita Inciong, Executive Director and Chairperson of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council, then Mr. Geomel Jetonzo, “Brigada Pagbasa” Program Director of World Vision Development Foundation, and Ms. Mardilyn Garcia, President of Paulinian Volunteers for Community Development. During this session, the 4 speakers shared their respective programs and projects on literacy launched by their represented institutions and its impact in the communities in the peak of the pandemic.
Dr. Macahilig talked about the digital divide, its toll on the students and education as a whole, and the PNU’s initiatives such as the “Kaway Aralan sa Bagong Kadawyan” and the ePNU in response to pandemic’s challenges. The former is a contextualized version of flexible learning modality wherein it required a review and recalibration of curricula of undergraduate and graduate programs to focus on the most essential course intended learning outcomes and to align with the flexible learning strategies and the alike. While the latter is the university’s upgrading of its existing learning management system which gave way to the training and provision of technical assistance to the faculty and staff in preparation of the flexible and blended learning. Other projects shared were the “Project Tanglaw” and “Kaway.”
Afterwards, Dr. Inciong focused her discussion on literacy issue being a complex matter. She elaborated the Republic Act 10410, ECCD being the foundation of the learning continuum, its crucial role in a child, and the ECCD System Framework. She reiterated that the schools may be closed but it does not mean that the learning of children is also closed. She called everyone to continually support the children’s learning experiences and not to stop training the teachers and the parents on this journey.
On Mr. Jetonzo’s presentation, he pointed out the “Brigada Pagbasa,” a national movement for reading that aims to bring together all education champions and supporters to contribute to nation building by helping all Filipino children enhance their reading skills in the context of partnership. His talk also included the Brigada Pagbasa Program Cycle, Learning in Times of Emergencies and Driving of the Reading Culture among the learners. He emphasized that the future of children is worth investing. He encouraged everyone “to support the program… because to sustain the gains and to bridge the gaps as we embark on the second year of emergency remote learning, every member of the community must be equipped to perform their roles in effectively educating the children.”
The last panelist, Ms. Garcia, instilled to the participants to think globally and to turn their lenses into multifaceted ones. Her rich experiences were drawn from their project “Handog Pag-ibig,” a multifaceted project rooted in fostering inclusive development by capacitating the holistic empowerment of indigenous communities. Based on her immersion to the indigenous communities, she said that it is important to possess empathy, education and empowerment to truly realize inclusivity in education especially at the time of the pandemic. She closed her speech by saying “It is about putting human at the center of everything… Literacy should ignite a holistic development.”
After the presentations, Mr. Benjo Basas, National Chairperson of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and Ms. Lindsay Barrientos, Executive Director of PNC for UNESCO, served as the reactors for the said event. After their sharing of insights, the group proceeded to the Open Forum and Awarding of Certificates.
In conclusion, Dr. Margarita Consolacion Ballestors, Director of DepEd-ICO, leaned on the need to address the digital divide and the call for a worldwide efforts. She said that literacy must expand the possibilities to choose the kind of life everyone wants to live with. “Being literate is more than just being able to read and write but someone who can go beyond and forecast what is yet to come and is in there at the moment,” she noted.
The LCC Secretariat would like to thank the PNU and its partners for sharing this momentous event with them. Inputs shared during the forum are indeed valuable in the future endeavors of the Council on literacy.
To watch the replays of the recorded event, kindly click the links below: