Teachers’ Groups Urge DepEd to Halt Catch-Up Fridays Program

Two teacher groups have jointly called for the Department of Education (DepEd) to suspend its Catch-Up Fridays program, citing concerns over its effectiveness and implementation. Both the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) highlighted issues such as students’ skipping classes, uneven provision of reading materials and additional burdens on teachers.

ACT Chairperson Vladimer Quetua pointed out that after a month of implementing Catch-Up Fridays, teachers are burdened with additional workload due to the lack of reading materials, forcing them to spend their own money on photocopying materials. The absence of clear guidelines has led to varied activities being carried out under the program, resulting in an increase in student absenteeism and tardiness on Fridays.

Similarly, TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas emphasized students’ waning interest in participating in the program, leading to higher absenteeism rates. Basas highlighted that students, especially those who can read, see little value in attending classes solely focused on reading activities.

Launched by DepEd in January, Catch-Up Fridays aim to enhance students’ reading skills through differentiated instruction, targeting both non-readers and proficient readers. However, according to initial assessments, teachers struggle to implement this approach due to insufficient training.

Furthermore, both groups raised concerns about reports of school personnel selling books and workbooks for the program, in violation of DepEd’s no-collection policy. Basas emphasized that this practice indicates a failure on DepEd’s part to provide necessary materials, placing an undue burden on teachers.

Both ACT and TDC argued that Catch-Up Fridays take away valuable class time from regular instruction, contradicting its intended purpose of addressing learning losses exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. They called for a halt to the program and urged DepEd to engage in consultations with stakeholders to craft more effective learning recovery interventions.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed support for DepEd’s efforts to improve students’ reading skills through Catch-Up Fridays, citing the alarming rates of reading difficulties among Filipino students. Gatchalian highlighted the importance of implementing programs tailored to students’ needs and emphasized legislative efforts to strengthen reading initiatives.

DepEd, in response to reports of irregularities in the implementation of Catch-Up Fridays, has launched an investigation into allegations of selling materials and requiring additional expenses from students. The department reiterated its commitment to improving reading skills without imposing financial burdens on students and warned of sanctions against those found violating regulations.

DepEd encouraged the public to report any irregularities to ensure the effective and equitable implementation of its programs.


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