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DSWD chief leads Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program launch in Samar province

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian led the roll out of the Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program, the agency’s reformatted educational assistance, in the province of Samar on Friday (April 19).

“We believe that, number one, we have to end illiteracy. Dapat walang kabataang Pilipino ang hindi marunong magbasa [No Filipino youth should remain unable to read],” Secretary Gatchalian said during the program launch at the Tandaya Hall in Catbalogan City Proper.

The DSWD chief emphasized the importance of the tutoring program in eradicating learning poverty, as well as in helping college students who need financial support for their education.

“We want to make sure na natutulungan natin ‘yong mga college students natin na kulang lang sa financial para makatapos [that we assist our college students who are just lacking in finances to finish], pero [but] at the same time, kayo na rin yung i-enlist namin na maging tutor ng mga bata [you will also be enlisted to become tutors for the children],” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

Under the program, college students enrolled in select state universities in Samar will be engaged as tutors and youth development workers (YDWs).

In exchange for their service in holding learning, reading, and nanay-tatay teacher sessions to struggling and non-reading elementary students and their parents, tutors and YDWs will be provided with educational support through the agency’s cash-for-work mechanism.

Secretary Gatchalian also underscored the importance of one of the program’s components in sustaining the impact of learning and reading sessions.

“We want to make sure na ‘yon nga para sustainable siya [to make it more sustainable], we want to train our parents to become the first teachers at home. Little did parents keep forgetting na ang first teachers are not the teachers in the classroom, but rather, the first teachers are the teachers in the house, in the home,” the DSWD chief explained.

“That’s why we came up with the third component of this program, the Nanay-Tatay Parenting Program or Teaching Program. We believe that the nanay or the tatay are the teachers at home,” the DSWD chief added.

With Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program, the parents and guardians of the children-beneficiaries are also provided with cash-for-work by the DSWD for attending these sessions and for assisting their children in preparing their needs for learning and reading and in their after-reading assignments.

For its rollout in Samar province, some 2,000 struggling and non-reading elementary students and their parents, 200 tutors, and 40 YDWs will benefit from Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program.

Agreement signing

As part of the program rollout in Samar province, Secretary Gatchalian signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Samar Provincial Governor Sharee Ann Tan; Samar State University (SSU) President Dr. Redentor S. Palencia; and Northwest Samar State University (NSSU) President Dr. Benjamin L. Pecayo, represented by the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Ramil Catamora, for the implementation of the agency’s Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program in the province.

The MOA formalized the partnership among the DSWD, provincial government of Samar, and the state universities and colleges (SUCs) in implementing the Tara, Basa! Tutoring program in the province.

The signing was witnessed by Vice Governor Arnold V. Tan, DSWD Field Office-8 (Eastern Visayas) Grace Subong, Department of Education (DepEd) Region-8 Regional Director Evelyn R. Fetalvero, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Region-8 Regional Director Maximo C. Aljibe, SSU-College of Education Acting Dean Dr. Laura Boller, and NSSU Scholarship Director Dr. Myra Pilpa.

Samar 2nd Congressional District Representative Reynolds Michael T. Tan, Samar 1st District Committee on Education Board Member Lydia De Los Reyes, the local chief executives of the 24 municipalities and three cities in the province, and representatives from Schools Division Offices of Samar, Calbayog, and Catbalogan were also present.

DSWD executives, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) National Program Manager Gemma Gabuya and Social Technology Bureau Director Helen Suzara, also attended the signing ceremony.

The guests signified their commitment and support for the implementation of the DSWD Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program in the province by signing the digital pledge of commitment during the launching.

The Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program creates a learning ecosystem, wherein college students will be capacitated and deployed as Tutors and Youth Development Workers (YDWs) to help improve the reading proficiency of elementary students who are struggling to read or are non-readers.

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