Senator Win Gatchalian has refiled a bill that seeks to eradicate illiteracy nationwide.
Senate Bill No. 473 or the National Literacy Council Act renames the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) which was established by Republic Act No. 7165, as amended. By repealing R.A. No. 7165, the Council will not only continue serving as the lead inter-agency coordinating and advisory body on the formulation and implementation of measures to accelerate the universalization of literacy. It will be strengthened and mandated to formulate a three-year roadmap incorporating strategies on how to achieve zero illiteracy, supported by relevant measurable targets and indicators and data-based interventions.
The measure proposes to utilize local government units (LGUs) by assigning the Local School Boards (LSBs) as the de facto local literacy councils. LSBs will be mandated to formulate a local roadmap anchored on the Council’s three-year roadmap to guide its strategies on achieving zero illiteracy in communities.
“Ang pagsugpo sa illiteracy sa ating bansa ang isa sa mga pinakamahalagang hakbang upang matiyak na walang kababayan natin ang mapagkakaitan ng magandang kinabukasan. Upang maabot natin lahat ng ating mga kababayan, bibigyan natin ng mahalagang papel ang ating mga lokal na pamahalaan para sa epektibong pagpapatupad ng mga programa para sa literacy,” said Gatchalian.
LSBs will also be mandated to implement community literacy mapping activities at the local level through a community-based monitoring system, which is consistent with R.A. No. 11315 or the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Act.
According to the 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), 6.1 million Filipinos aged five years old and above are still not basically literate, meaning they cannot read or write, with understanding of simple messages. In the same year, 6.8 million Filipinos aged 10 to 64 were considered functionally illiterate. This means they do not possess the skills to participate fully and efficiently in daily activities requiring a reasonable capability of communicating through a written language.
The proposed measure also transfers the Council’s technical secretariat to the Bureau of Alternative Education (BAE), which was established by Republic Act No. 11510 or the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Act as the focal office for the implementation of ALS programs.
The senator also flagged the results of international large-scale assessments that point to an education crisis. In the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), for example, the Philippines ranked lowest out of 79 countries when it comes to Reading.