DepEd to introduce 'Catch-up Friday'

(File photo)
(File photo)

AFTER the Philippines plunged in the world rankings, trailing behind other countries in key learning areas, such as Reading, Mathematics and Science, in 2023, the Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd 7) has introduced new learning strategies this year.

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said they recently launched the “Catch-up Friday” program to help students develop the habit of reading and address learning gaps among grade school and high school students.

Jimenez said that as part of the program, launched on Jan. 12, 2024, schools will dedicate every Friday throughout the school year to reading and values, peace and health education.

“This is one of the national initiatives of the central office,” Jimenez told SunStar Cebu.

In the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), 15-year-old students from the Philippines achieved one of the lowest scores among 81 countries. Their average reading score was 347 points, notably lower than the global average of 476.

On a global scale, the Philippines ranked 77th out of 81 countries in the student assessment conducted for 15-year-old learners. In the 2022 Pisa assessment, the country scored around 120 points lower than average scores. In addition to reading, the country scored 355 in math and 373 in science.

First memorandum

Last Jan. 10, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching Gina Gonong released DepEd’s first memorandum of 2024, outlining the implementation of Catch-Up Fridays.

The memorandum explains that Catch-up Fridays are “a learning mechanism intended to strengthen the foundational, social and other relevant skills necessary to actualize the intent of the basic education curriculum.”

Jimenez said they introduced D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read) practice as they commenced with the Catch-up Fridays. D.E.A.R involves dedicated reading sessions or related activities aimed at enhancing learners’ reading skills.

“We are actually wanting to develop the habit of reading, so that is Catch-up Fridays. Once the learners are able to read, they already have that habit in reading; wherever they are, they will look for something to read,” Jimenez said.

Based on the DepEd guidelines, Catch-up Fridays will prioritize the National Reading Program in the morning and cover values, health and peace education in the afternoon. The Homeroom Guidance Program will also play a crucial role in this initiative.

DepEd stressed the importance of an “integrative approach to teaching” during Catch-up Fridays. For example, health topics can be integrated into science lessons to provide students with a better understanding of health-related concepts.Moreover, DepEd suggests that themes related to peace education can be included in Technology and Livelihood Education to show students how technology may be used for conflict resolution, communication, and building communities.

In the program, students are not graded; their progress is tracked through self-reflection journals.

According to earlier reports, DepEd’s Bureau of Education Assessment-Education Research Division said the country’s educational system is five to six years behind its foreign peers.

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