‘Tara Basa!’ tutoring program expands to Cebu City

CEBU CITY, Cebu (PIA) — Among the challenges faced by schools today is the inability of children to read.

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 social welfare officer III Angeline Paghubasan, there has been no significant improvements among Filipino students when it comes to Math, Reading, and Science.  

“Based on the assessment na gibuhat last 2022, kadtong Program for International Student Assessment or PISA, there is no significant improvement sa performance sa atong mga Pilipino nga students sa Math, Reading, and Science,” said Paghubasan.

(Based on the assessment conducted in 2022 on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), there was no significant improvement on the performance of Filipino students in Math, Reading, and Science.)

Paghubasan said the country remains in the bottom 10 out of the 81 countries in the second result of the 2022 PISA. 

She added that the shift to a modular or distant learning setting for almost two years during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the illiteracy among learners. 

Results of the Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA) administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) in June 2023 show that a total of 4,865 Grade 2 learners in the public elementary schools in 67 barangays of Cebu City were identified to be either struggling or non-readers.

This prompted DSWD to implement the ‘Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program’ that will address the problem of reading among the students.

‘Tara Basa’

The ‘Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program’ was initially piloted in Metro Manila. 

Following the positive outcome of the pilot implementation, DSWD expanded the program to nine areas, including Cebu City.

In Cebu, DSWD partnered with Cebu Normal University (CNU), with their students serving as tutors. 

A total of 583 CNU students taking up education programs and social science courses have been identified to guide the young learners,  while the Youth Development Workers (YDW) will facilitate the Nanay-Tatay sessions.

The YDWs are expected to guide and help capacitate the parents of the learners on how they can enforce the learnings of their children. 

Taking on a holistic approach, the program will conduct sessions for the parents or guardians simultaneous to their children’s learning session.

The tutoring program also serves as a revised educational assistance program of the DSWD, which utilizes a cash-for-work (CFW) intervention for low-income families.

The identified tutors from CNU have recently been trained in the tutoring program’s module. 

Tutors are expected to handle at least 10 learners for 20 days starting July 1, 2024. 

One of the tutors identified in Cebu City is 3rd year Special Needs Education student Franci Mae Fuentes. 

Fuentes has observed that there are learners in her area who cannot read even though they are already expected to know how to read at their grade level. 

“I don’t know why (they don’t know how to read). Is it because of their environment or is it because of the pandemic? One of the things I have in mind is to help them,” she said. 

She said being part of the tutoring program is her way of helping the learners who struggle to read. 

“It’s my way that I can help my fellow ka-barangays and maybe we can foster an effective and good environment where children (who struggle to read) will no longer suffer discrimination,” she explained. 

Fuentes also considers the program as a platform for her to practice her knowledge as a future teacher. She shared that she learned during the training that monitoring and tracking the learning progress is necessary. 

“I learned how important it is to assess, or do a pre-assessment and post-assessment of a child,” she said. 

“It made me realize that every child has the potential, they only need a little push,” she added. (JTA/PIA7) 

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