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MANILA, Philippines – To address learning gaps among grade school and high school students, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday, January 12, began its “Catch-up Fridays” program, which dedicates every Friday of the whole school year to reading, values, peace, and health education.
In a memorandum issued on Wednesday, January 10, the DepEd said that all schools in the country should roll out the National Reading Program through activities such as the “Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), Read-A-Thon, fora, and invitation of resource persons.”
“All Fridays throughout the school year shall be designated as Catch-up Fridays, with a focus on operationalizing the National Reading Program (NRP) during the first half of the day’s schedule and on fostering Values, Health, and Peace Education for the second half. Additionally, the Homeroom Guidance Program (HGP) shall also be included in the Catch-up Fridays,” the memorandum read.
What is Catch-up Fridays?
According to DepEd, Catch-up Friday is a “learning mechanism intended to strengthen the foundational, social, and other relevant skills necessary to actualize the intent of the basic education curriculum.”
The DepEd also noted that the program is not graded because “its main objective is to reinforce learning.”
Below is the sample schedule for basic education students as provided by the DepEd.
The DepEd said that teachers should engage in collaborative sessions to share best practices in implementing Catch-up Fridays. It added that schools are “highly encouraged to forge and strengthen stakeholder engagement” to gather support and sustain the implementation of the program.
The rollout of the learning program came after the release of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022 rankings which showed that Filipino students lagged behind other countries in reading, mathematics, and science.
The Philippines ranked 77th out of 81 countries globally in the student assessment conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for 15-year-old learners.
At a meeting in Malacañang on Thursday, January 11, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered education officials, led by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, to improve the quality of teaching in schools.
DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said that Marcos wants teachers to have expertise in their subject areas of teaching.
“He emphasized on the necessity of proper training programs for our teachers, of course, hand in hand with teacher welfare,” Poa added. – Rappler.com