COTABATO CITY – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) registered a significant increase in its basic literacy rate to 86.1% in 2013 from 81.5% in 2008.
This was based on the 2013 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority which started in 1989 and is currently conducted every five years.
Basic literacy is used for the “initial learning of reading and writing, which adults who have never been to school need to go through.” The region’s functional literacy rate also increased to 72.1 % in 2013 from 71.6 % in 2008.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines functional literacy as the person’s ability to “engage in activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his group and community and also for enabling him to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his own and the community’s development.”
FLEMMS is a nationwide survey that presents comprehensive statistics on the latest status of literacy, education, and mass media exposure of Filipinos. It “brings together a wide range of information that serves as a guide for government policy makers, program planners, and decision makers in providing a much broader scope of action and more focused program intervention on the target beneficiaries of development plans.”
Marjuni Maddi, ARMM’s Education department (DepEd-ARMM) assistant secretary for academics, said the increase was associated to efforts of the agency in solving literacy-related problems.
DepEd-ARMM is currently implementing ‘Abot-Alam’, a national program that aims at relocating “the out-of-school youth (OSY) nationwide who are 15 to 30 years old and who have not completed basic/higher education or who are unemployed, and to mobilize and harmonize programs, which will address these OSYs’ needs and aspirations.”
Furthermore, the agency is also engaged in other interventions such as the Alterative Delivery Mode (ADM), a joint program with Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao-ARMM. ADM is being implemented by BRAC Philippines.
The program established learning centers in poor, conflict-affected, and disadvantaged communities in the region to give out-of-school children access to basic education. It provides catch-up opportunities for young children in remote and deprived communities of the region where regular public education is not easily accessible.
The project already built 1,220 learning centers across ARMM including seven floating learning centers in coastal areas in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. These learning centers cater to 38,084 students from kindergarten to Grades 1 to 3.
Maddi encouraged everyone to take part in promoting the importance of education.
“Education is everybody’s business. We should not leave it to our teachers,” he said. The 2013 FLEMMS survey covered about 26,000 sample households in 1,600 barangays in the country. About 1,200 sample households were taken from ARMM. (Bureau of Public Information)
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