Following is a PRESS STATEMENT (October 2, 2010) from 170 + Talaytayan MLE Incorporated. It was published in INQUIRER.net as “Educators push for use of mother tongue in schools” with some alterations (see first two comments).
Quite frankly, we prefer the Inquirer’s version on account of the fact that it’s easier to understand it; the use of too many “big” words and numbers in the original press release (below) just tends to confuse us and forget most of what is said. And we are left hanging with the bomb Dr. Nolasco dropped re favoring “spreading the basic curriculum for elementary and high school across the internationally accepted standard of 12 years” with nary a word on its implementation and the nightmarish logistics it would require to pull it at this time. (A reading of ‘Length of School Cycle and the “Quality” of Education’ in the Philippine Education Research Journal might provide some insight.)
The number of Filipinos, aged 10-64 years old, who do not understand what they read, has grown to 20.1 million. This is based on the latest figures from the 2008 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS).
Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco, head of 170+ Talaytayan MLE Inc., a coalition of education reform advocates throughout the country, said that counting and comprehension skills among Filipinos remain dismally and alarmingly low.
He underscored the need for the Aquino administration to vigorously implement its ten-point agenda for education including changing the exclusively English- and Filipino-based curriculum into one in which Filipino children start learning through their mother tongue.
He expressed support for Education Secretary Armin Luistro’s plan of concentrating on the core skills of speaking, reading, writing and counting in the primary grades. Nolasco also favored spreading the basic curriculum for elementary and high school across the internationally accepted standard of 12 years.
According to the FLEMMS survey, the Filipino’s ability to count or level 2 literacy went up from 84.1 percent in 2003 to 86.5 percent in 2008. Comprehension skills or level 3 literacy likewise increased from 66 to 70 percent.
“This means that those who cannot compute went down slightly from 16 percent in 2003 to 14 percent in 2008. Lack of comprehension abilities likewise went down from 34 to 30 percent after five years.” This is the good news, Nolasco said.
The bad news is that the number of individuals lacking in counting and comprehension skills actually grew. This was due to a higher population base of 67 million for 2008 compared to only 57.6 million for 2003. Nolasco computed the number of non-numerate Filipinos in 2008 at 9.1 million, which was almost the same as in 2003. However, those who lack comprehension abilities increased from 19.6 million in 2003 to 20.1 million individuals in 2008. This is the bad news, added Nolasco
Computation and comprehension skills were tested in the FLEMMS survey through a self-administered questionnaire accomplished by a sample of around 70,000 individuals throughout the country.
The questions for testing counting ability were as follows:
- If a kilo of rice costs P25.00, how much will two kilos cost?
- If a kilo of sugar costs P38.00, how much will half a kilo cost?
Those who answered these questions correctly were classified as functionally literate at level 2.
To test comprehension ability, respondents were made to read the following paragraph in English or its version in 26 Philippine languages:
The depletion of our forests is one of the most serious environmental problems of the Philippines. It causes frequent floods and loss of fertile soils. Crops and property are destroyed and many loves are lost because of frequent floods.
Based on the paragraph you read, what are the effects of forest depletion?
Those who answered this question correctly were classified as functionally literate at level 3.
In the survey, high school graduates or those with higher education are also considered functionally literate at level 4.