City strengthens literacy program

THE CITY council is set to reorganize the Davao City Literacy Coordinating Council to include the city’s department heads as the main components of the council and handing over to the Department of Education a larger role in the implementation of literacy programs.`

This effort was according to City Social Services and Development Office chief Ma Luisa Bermudo as a way for the city to maintain its hall of fame win of the national literacy award, which it received under the administration of former Mayor Sara Z. Duterte.

Photos by Bing Gonzales

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The amendments to the ordinance creating the body, which was passed in 2010, aims to institutionalize the policies of the city’s literacy programs to formally include the city government department heads, who were not part of the council in the old version of the ordinance despite working on the goal anyway.

These departments include the CSSDO, City Health Office, City Planning and Development Office, Department of Interior and Local Government, Liga ng mga Barangay and the Sangguniang Panlungsod committees on health and education.

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Amendments also include a spot for a representative from civil society to be determined by the City Mayor.

The Department of Education schools division superintendent would now be given vice-chairmanship of the council, while the alternative learning system coordinators from DepEd would form part of the secretariat, along with personnel from the City Mayor’s Office.

The city government has implemented literacy programs in several of its agencies, including tourism, finance, environment, as well as barangay level implementation of literacy programs.

According to the DepEd, the schools division has also partnered with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas to implement a radio-based literacy program. The amendment aims to include the Philippine Information Agency to expand the possibilities of a mass media-based literacy campaign.

The city government website cites the following literacy programs as the reasons for the literacy award win in 2012: the establishment of civil registration outlets in public schools, the implementation of a mobile library-based literacy program, establishment of pre-schools in indigenous areas, as well as scholarships.

Davao City has a literacy rate of 98.7%, according to a city government publication called ‘Doing Business in Davao.’ This is higher than the Philippine literacy rate of 92.3%.

According to a copy of the sectoral annexes to the Comprehensive Land Use Program, data from 2011 showed enrolment to primary education in the schoolyear 2010 to 2011 was 90.4%, which was higher than the baseline 82.5% the city recorded 82.5%, for net enrolment eight years earlier.

However, only 58.7% of students who started grade one would reach grade 6, according to the same data.

The document was hopeful it would attain MDG indicator 6 (net enrolment ratio of 100%), but said chances were low of all students from grade 1 reaching grade 6.

The reconstitution of the literacy program shows the city’s drive towards sustainable programs in education, to empower its citizens. The way the figures are going and the way the composition is looking, there is much work to be done.

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