IT IS exceedingly evident to come across the learners of Tangan Integrated School (IS) in Glan, Sarangani Province motivated and enjoying the string instrument ukulele accompanied by the teaching force of the school.

Teachers of the school need to travel 80.2 kilometers or one hour and 45 minutes from Department of Education (DepEd) Sarangani Schools Division Office located at the municipality of Alabel to Sitio Proper, Brgy. Datalbukay, Glan, Sarangani Province, where the school is situated. They will also need to ride an alol (a small raft made up of light wood) in crossing the river just like some of the learners whose residence are just near the school for them to reach their center of learning.

The program KANTAbataan was created through the initiative of the former School Head of Tangan IS and current DepEd North Glan II District Principal-in-Charge Pinky G. Tanap. It is being continued by the current School Head Jeffry C. Paglinawan and has been adopted by other schools in North Glan II District.

The KANTAbataan program started when Tangan IS still doesn’t have electricity and internet connection. It aims to provide reading materials with a twist that can be used by struggling and independent readers. Readers will be motivated to read and comprehend because after articulating five to seven words, they will have the chance to hold and play the ukulele.

“Dako gyud ning tabang sa amoa labi na karon kay naay Covid [ug] wala pay face to face. Pero adtuan gyud mi sa among Teachers sa Tangan Integrated School, unya pagamiton pa gyud mi og ukelele pagkahuman namo og basa. Maong mas maningkamot gyud mi kay usahay ra man mi makagunit og ukulele (The program was a big help to us during the time of Covid when there were no face-to-face classes. The teachers of Tangan IS would go to the school and let us play the ukelele after we do our reading assignments. This motivates us because we don't always get to play the ukelele),” Cristina P. Tangan, a 16-year old Grade 10 student, said in an interview with DepEd North Glan II Sarangani Insider Team.

With the difficulty in teaching their children due to modular distance learning, Jessabel B. Tangan, 28 years old and one of the parents said, “Nagpasalamat gyud mi kang Ma’am Pinky Tanap kay tungod ani iyang gimugna nga programa kaniadto ug naa gihapon hangtod karon, mas naay gana hinuon ang mga bata mubasa kay makagunit man sila og ukelele ug ang mga maestra mao na may muadto dire sa among lugar. Dako pud ning tabang sa amoa nga ginikanan kay maglisod man pud mi og pabasa sa among mga anak (We thank Ma'am Pinky for the initiative because it encourages the students to study by letting them also learn the ukelele. The teachers are also the ones who are coming here to teach and this is a big help to us parents because it is not easy to let the kids read).”

Seeing enthusiasm of the learners in this remote school is the inspiration of the teachers in going to sitios, conquering the muddy and bumpy roads, just to conduct this kind of reading program.

DepEd Sarangani Schools Division Superintendent Gildo G. Mosqueda, CEO VI, supports the KANTAbataan program. He envisions to make every learner a reader even in the midst of this pandemic as clearly indicated in the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) and in response to DepEd Memorandum no. 173, “Hamon: Bawat Bata Bumabasa (3Bs Initiative)."

Tanap is also hopeful for possible stakeholders who would want to extend aid to DepEd North Glan II District by providing a ukulele or any form of assistance to strengthen the reading program. The program is seen to help improve the literacy skill of all types of learners, as well as to upskill teachers in becoming effective reading instructors.