DepEd issues guidelines for Catch Up Fridays
Teachers watch their students walk along a corridor after a short break at the start of classes at a school in Quezon City, suburban Manila on August 22, 2022 as millions of children in the Philippines returned to school as the academic year started on August 22, with many taking their seats in classrooms for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

AFP / Ted Aljibe



Manila, Philippines — The Department of Education has released the guidelines for the implementation of its “Catch Up Fridays” learning intervention program, which will be officially rolled out in public schools nationwide starting January 12.

DepEd Memorandum 001 s. 2024 states that the “Catch Up Fridays” program will dedicate half of every Friday to reading and the other half to values, peace and health education.

DepEd said that its reading program will “give learners opportunities for reading intervention and reading enhancement through developmentally appropriate reading materials.

The memorandum dated January 10 states that schools will roll out its National Reading Program through activities such as the “Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), Read-A-Thon, fora, and invitation of resource persons.”

Meanwhile, the other half of Fridays will be for values, health and peace education, which will revolve around different monthly themes as prescribed by the department. “While teachers shall be given the prerogative to narrow down or devise additional subthemes, alignment with the quarterly themes is essential,” the memorandum noted.

Two-pronged approach to reading

DepEd said that its reading program will be implemented through a “two-pronged” approach that involves reading intervention and reading enhancement activities.

In the memorandum, DepEd provided a list of activities for reading intervention, like using flash cards, singing songs, playing games and other methods to “activate learners’ prior knowledge.” 

This will be followed by activities to be held during actual reading time, where teachers can hold activities that will help students “visualizes scenes, characters and situations” and “identify the main idea and supporting details,” among others.

“Note: The teacher uses appropriate and targeted activities that vary according to the learners’ reading ability and capacity. In addition, activities must vary to avoid monotony,” DepEd said.

For activities promoting reading enhancement, DepEd also provided a list of activities, such as choral reading, book reports, reading journals, book clubs, among other activities.

Peace education to involve ‘positive and negative peace’

The memorandum also provided a list of the themes and subthemes for the teaching of peace, values and health education every Friday.

Under peace education, some themes spread out across multiple grade levels are the concepts of “positive and negative peace,” “public order and safety,” “intercultural relations” and “social justice and human rights,” among other lessons.

Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte announced during last year’s culminating event of the National Reading Month that catch-up Fridays “will focus particularly on reading but may also include subjects in peace education, health and values education.”

Duterte said, at the time, that “on Fridays, our sole focus will be on teaching children to read.”

Latest World Bank data shows that nine out of 10 Filipino children aged 10 struggle to read simple text. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the figures showed seven out of 10 struggled to read.

According to the 2022 Program for International Student Assessment results, only 24% of 15-year-old Filipino students were found to have basic reading proficiency.