DepEd field officials make more sense than top brassLETTERS | Inquirer Opinion

DepEd field officials make more sense than top brassLETTERS

/ 05:00 AM April 17, 2024

The schools division superintendents (SDS) of Makati City, Dagupan City, City of Malolos, Batangas, and Cabuyao City recently defied the unwritten mass promotion policy of the Department of Education (DepEd) by declaring that they will enforce in their areas the sidelined “No Read, No Pass” policy under which no learner can be promoted to Grade 4 unless he or she could read.

In Division Memorandum No. 150, s. 2024, “Reiteration of the ‘No Read, No Pass Policy’ and Update on the Reading Profiles of Key Stage 1 Learners,” the Makati SDS indirectly pointed out the DepEd folly which crippled the country’s reading literacy as follows: “Non-readers or learners who cannot even decode letters will not be able to cope with any of the academic requirements that will enable them to pass any of the subjects thus, no learning will take place.”

In Division Memorandum No. 99, s. 2024, the Dagupan City SDS had captured the result of DepEd’s absurd policy of passing reading laggards to any grade for all the world to see. The memo set the following localized reading standards which schools must observe when deciding on the promotion of students: “Grade 1—Word level; Grade 2—Sentence level; Grade 3—Paragraph level; Grade 4—Story level; Grade 5—Story level with comprehension; Grade 6—Local materials with comprehension; Grade 7—Academic materials with comprehension.”


The localized standards are worlds apart from the K-12 curriculum standards because, under the latter, learners already read in English with comprehension by Grade 3. That such weak reading literacy is the aim of the DepEd-Dagupan City’s reading policy shows just how dismal the current situation is.


The DepEd-City of Malolos SDS debunked the myth that the nonreader problem is confined to the elementary level being subtly peddled by DepEd national officials through their deafening silence on the issue of high school nonreaders. Division Memorandum No. 229, s. 2023, “Division Monitoring and Validation on Reading Proficiency Anchored to the DepEd Reading Program ‘No Read, No Pass’ Policy for Elementary and Secondary Learners” explicitly declares that the “No Read, No Pass” Policy will be applied to elementary and secondary students.

In DepEd-Batangas Division Memorandum No. 13, s. 2024, the SDS wrote that DepEd Order No. 45, series of 2002, shall be enforced in SY 2023-2024 “to attain the zero non-reader in all public elementary level within the division.”

By contrast, the guidelines of the responses of the DepEd to the reading crisis namely the “Bawat Bata Bumabasa” and now the “Catch-up Fridays” declare that the goal of the programs is “to strengthen the reading proficiency of every learner” but are silent on what happens to unresponsive learners at the end of the school year.

That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff. The position of the five DepEd field officials that the solution to the reading crisis lies in the “No Read, No Pass” policy is supported by the following facts: for generations until 2001 when DepEd scuttled the old “No Read, No Move” policy, there were no nonreaders in Grade 2 in the country; and private schools which have not fallen for the DepEd lie that learning can happen sans reading skills still have no nonreader problem.

Estanislao C. Albano Jr.,
[email protected]

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