March 23, 2023

The city council in its Monday’s regular session discussed with resource persons from Department of Education-Cordillera, the Baguio City Schools Division, and the Federation of Parents and Teachers Associations.
The center of discussion were information from the proposed resolution of Councilor Fred Bagbagen taken from the website of the Philippine Institute of Deve-lopment Studies about learning issues, particularly on English proficiency, among students in the elementary and secondary levels in the country, including Baguio City.
Among the news articles in the PIDS website was from Rappler dated April 20, 2020 entitled, “Senior high school students struggle to write in English.”
The author based his report from an article dated April 20, 2020 by Kristel Brillantes, a consultant at PIDS, who said, “Some senior high school students (SHS) cannot even write a decent English sentence,” and that SHS difficulty in writing in English was particularly evident in research projects.
The students were submitting projects for compliance only, preventing them from applying their learning from the SHS curricula.
The consultant also described the current SHS curricula as “too ambitious” and was designed for urban students, such as science schools in Metro Manila. The same article added this led to another problem – understanding activities that are “further worsened by lack of resources.”
One is the lack of computers of some students, which made it hard for them to understand and join the discussion on their computer literacy subject.
Other factors are challenges faced by teachers teaching students due to “insufficient guidelines, inadequate materials, and preparations” as “students are decrying the ‘too much’ reporting, which made them feel they teach more than their teachers do.”
The report added the factors or problems were “mere birth pains” of the SHS program with appeal “to iron out policies related to SHS” by the DepEd, Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Another article in the PIDS is taken from Tribune.Net.Ph. on Aug. 24, 2021 about “Non-readers in high school”, disagreeing there were no students in high school who cannot read, and pressing the need to teach the reading laggards.
The article’s purpose is related to then upcoming 2022 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to present and give related evidences to safely assumed that some of 2018 PISA takers were non-readers or were struggling readers so that appropriate help be intervened.
The article cited as evidence a DepEd Region 4A report that “there are still non-readers even in grades 7 and 8 and readers with very poor comprehension in the higher grades”; The documentary “Pag-asa sa Pagbasa” by I-Witness of GMA 7 on Sept. 1, 2018 featuring the 29 grade 7 non-readers at the Sauyo High School in Novaliches; policy notes of PIDS entitled “Pressures on public school teachers and implications on quality,” February 2019, recommending a stop to the DepEd practice of sending non-readers to high school; and others.
Also, cited as evidence is Baguio Midland Courier’s news report, “Filipino subject top among grade 6, 10 Baguio learners” on Nov. 24, 2019 that for school year 2018-2019, the Baguio City Schools Division had 52 non-readers in grade 7 even after interventions have been undertaken.
The report claims “this is very telling because based on its performance in the National Achievement Test, Baguio City is the top school division in the country.”
It also stated “DepEd’s finding that Filipino 2018 PISA takers had difficulty with open response questions, hinting at illiteracy.”
The other article is from the Inquirer.net dated Jan 23, 2023 which reported “only four of every 10 kids aged 9 to 12 years old in Baguio City can properly read and write in English, according to a 2021-2022 performance survey by the Department of Education in this city.”
It stated the “finding as revealed by DepEd officials and Mayor Benjamin Magalong in an education summit” was the reason parents, educators, and members of civil society in the city to band together to solve the children’s dropping literacy skills.
The report also quoted Magalong’s appeal, for the whole community’s assistance to help the concerned children, in his opening remarks in the summit led by a group of education advocates.
At the end of the meeting, city council members and resource persons considered the issue as a challenge for all to continue working together for the improvement and quality educational in Baguio City and the Cordillera.
The body requested in separate resolutions asking the Baguio City Schools Division and the DepEd-Cordillera to release a formal statement regarding the issue on English proficiency among elementary and high school students in the City of Baguio; for DepEd-Cordillera to conduct a study or research on the actual status of students on English proficiency in the city; and to adopt the Scout Barrio Elementary School into the public school system in the city.
The PIDS was likewise requested to furnish the city council studies conducted by their office on written or verbal English proficiency of students in the city, if there be any.
These requested supplemental documents are for further verification and additional data and information on the issues and concerns mentioned in the reports for effective and efficient response or action through appropriate measures from the city council and orders from the city’s executive.