A revolution in literacy is taking place in the City of Santiago in Isabela under the leadership of Mayor Joseph Tan despite the suspension of face-to-face classes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking before education and local government stakeholders from the cities of Bacolod, Escalante, Roxas, Iriga, Legazpi, and Iloilo in a consultation organized by the League of Cities of the Philippines and The Asia Foundation, the mayor presented Santiago's innovative monitoring and evaluation system for its literacy programs called "Reinventing Best Practices for Resiliency, Universality, and Functionality (REBOLUSYON) sa Barangay."
REBOLUSYON was developed to improve the capacities of the city's Barangay Literacy Coordinating Councils in assessing their literacy programs against the rubric of the National Literacy Coordinating Council.
Launched in the first quarter of 2021 via online and limited face-to-face orientation workshops, focused group discussions, and school visits, it was created to meet the standards necessary to achieve the National Literacy Awards (NLA) Hall of Fame of the National Literacy Coordinating Council. Relatedly, Santiago won first place in the Local Government Unit: Component / Independent Component City Category of the NLA in 2018, setting high standards for quality education in the region.
"Inumpisahan natin sa barangay [ang REBOLUSYON] ngunit bago pa man ang pandemya, ang Lungsod ng Santiago ay nagsisilbing venue para sa pag-benchmark ng iba nating mga kababayan," said Tan.
Escalante OIC-Schools Division Superintendent Clarissa Zamora lauded the initiative of Tan and underscored the importance of "involving barangay-level officials" when it comes to designing literacy programs and localizing NLCC's rubric.
Bacolod focal staff George Zulueta, meanwhile, asked about the funding for REBOLUSYON. Tan responded that the city uses its Special Education Fund and General Fund to roll out the system at no expense to the barangays.
The mayor also revealed that the city plans to establish its Local Literacy Coordinating Council to sustain its programs and activities.
Advancing basic education
The consultation is part of the Cities' System Capacity Development (Ci-Cap) Project of the ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines, a partnership of USAID and the Department of Education implemented by RTI International.
ABC+ aims to mobilize local governments and stakeholders to support and sustain improvements in reading, math, and social and emotional skills for early grade children (K–3) in Regions V, VI, and in the province of Maguindanao in BARMM.
This consultation highlights monitoring and evaluating literacy interventions for improved reading skills through the city's Local Literacy Coordinating Council (LLCC). Specifically, the focus will be on strengthening the LLCC in the active monitoring and evaluation efforts to address various literacy concerns even during the COVID-19 pandemic and consolidate replicable practices in financing early grade education.
The consultation also saw the launch of a reading assessment tool developed by the ABC+ project known as the Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA). Ms. Janice Perez, teaching and learning materials specialist of ABC+. Talked about the assessment instrument that the project is currently implementing in ABC+ regions to measure reading levels of students in the early grades.
The CRLA was designed by teachers and supervisors from the Department of Education through a series of design workshops and pilot tests. It was created to help teachers quickly determine the reading profiles of learners from grades 1 to 3 and develop appropriate reading instruction for each profile.