Fridays will be dedicated to reading programs in all schools starting January, as announced by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on November 21.
"Starting January 12, 2024, every Friday will be a catch-up day, particularly for reading skills," Duterte said in her speech at the 2023 Pambansang Buwan ng Pagbasa at Esteban Abada Elementary School in Quezon City.
Why is Catch-Up Friday important
This is part of the Department of Education's newest initiative to boost students' literacy.
Literacy, the ability to read and write, is a basic skill that the majority of Filipino students struggle with. According to World Bank data in 2022, 90 percent of Filipino children at the late primary age are having difficulties reading simple text.
Also, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey in 2018 found that 15-year-old students in the Philippines had the lowest scores in reading globally, on par with the Dominican Republic. The results of PISA 2022 will be released soon, and Duterte hopes the initiative will help boost our numbers in the years to come.
"We have already been through two PISAs, and the scores of the students have not yet improved. This means we need to innovate and do something else," she said in a Philstar report.
That's why starting January 2024, regular classes will be happening from Monday to Thursday, and Fridays will be dedicated to reading lessons. The official policy for this initiative will be released in December.
What happens during a catch-up Friday
Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 will spend the day reading age-appropriate books based on their interests. Subjects like peace education, health, and values education will also be tackled on this day.
The initiative primarily helps those who struggle with reading to be able to catch up. However, students who have advanced reading skills will take up lessons that will improve their critical thinking and analysis. They will also be taught skills to write essays and books.
"We need one day where we will focus on bringing students up to speed on their lessons. We can’t just keep doing the same things, but nothing is changing or improving with our learners,” Duterte explained.
What do you think about Catch-Up Fridays, parents?