DepEd official: ARMM Basic literacy rate has significantly improved

COTABATO CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) – An education official in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Tuesday reported that the region has registered a significant increase in its basic literacy rate to 86.1 percent in 2013 from 81.5 percent in 2008.

Marjuni Maddi, Department of Education (DepEd-ARMM) assistant secretary for academics, said this was based on the 2013 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The survey started in 1989 and is currently conducted every five years.

Maddi said basic literacy is used for the “initial learning of reading and writing, which adults who have never been to school need to go through.” The region’s functional literacy rate also increased to 72.1 percent in 2013 from 71.6 percent in 2008.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines functional literacy as the person’s ability to “engage in activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his group and community and also for enabling him to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his own and the community’s development.”

FLEMMS is a nationwide survey that presents comprehensive statistics on the latest status of literacy, education, and mass media exposure of Filipinos.

According to Maddi, FLEMMS “brings together a wide range of information that serves as a guide for government policy makers, program planners, and decision makers in providing a much broader scope of action and more focused program intervention on the target beneficiaries of development plans.”

Maddi said the increase was associated with efforts of the agency in solving literacy-related problems.

DepEd-ARMM is currently implementing ‘Abot-Alam’, a national program that aims at relocating “the out-of-school youth (OSY) nationwide who are 15 to 30 years old and who have not completed basic/higher education or who are unemployed, and to mobilize and harmonize programs, which will address these OSYs’ needs and aspirations.”

Furthermore, the agency is also engaged in other interventions such as the Alterative Delivery Mode (ADM), a joint program with Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao-ARMM. ADM is being implemented by BRAC Philippines.

The program established learning centers in poor, conflict-affected, and disadvantaged communities in the region to give out-of-school children access to basic education.

He explained that the program provides catch-up opportunities for young children in remote and deprived communities of the region where regular public education is not easily accessible.

Maddi said the project has already built 1,220 learning centers across ARMM including seven floating learning centers in coastal areas in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. These learning centers cater to 38,084 students from kindergarten to Grades 1 to 3.

The education official also encouraged everyone to take part in promoting the importance of education.

“Education is everybody’s business. We should not leave it to our teachers,” he said.

The 2013 FLEMMS survey covered about 26,000 sample households in 1,600 barangays in the country. About 1,200 sample households were taken from ARMM.

Reforms in education department were among the major accomplishments of Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman after he assumed office in 2011 and eventually elected in 2013.

He rid the region with undesirable officials in the education department that included “ghost” teachers, students, school buildings, among others, earning him the moniker from President Aquino as ARMM “ghost buster.” (PNA)