‘Tara, Basa’ is a good tutoring program to spread and support

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An innovative educational assistance program launched by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) last month will benefit more than just college students who need financial assistance for school expenses.

Named “Tara, Basa!” (Let’s Read!), it is a tutoring program that will help improve the reading skills of Grade One students who are lagging behind, and will guide parents and guardians on many aspects of parenting related to helping the young learners in their school lessons, especially in reading. 

Meanwhile, college students who volunteered to be tutors, also known as Youth Development Workers (YDW), will be trained to conduct reading lessons for the children, and also module sessions for parents and guardians.  Under the cash-for-work program of the DSWD, the student-tutors will be paid a daily minimum wage for the 20-day program.

The first payouts for rendering their service as tutors and youth development workers was made on Sept. 14 to 430 students from the City of Malabon University, Navotas Polytechnic College, Universidad de Manila, and Parañaque City College.

The module sessions for parents and guardians of the grade school beneficiaries that the YDWs will conduct – known as “Tatay-Nanay sessions” – will orient the parents on various topics, among them assisting the children in after-reading session assignments. Other topics will be on effective parenting, Filipino family dynamics, child development, and children’s rights.

In this aspect of the program, the parent-beneficiaries will be encouraged to devote time to the sessions with cash aid of ₱235 per day for 20 days for their attendance.

The program will benefit about 6,000 college students from low-income families, 63,000 Grade I learners from public schools, and parents and guardians in Metro Manila.

“For the first time, the DSWD and DepEd have joined forces to help those elementary school students who are struggling or are non-readers; college students who have a need to continue or complete their education; and parents and the entire community that have an important role in shaping children’s reading skills,” DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said during the launching ceremony at the Rizal High School in Pasig City, last month.

Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte lauded the program as a “creative, collaborative, and exciting response to the challenge of supplemental learning through tutoring outside of the hours designated for classroom learning.”

“We are also grateful to the DSWD for collaborating with DepEd on this endeavor. We acknowledge your contributions to our efforts to correct the wrongs afflicting our education system. Wrongs that badly hurt our children’s education and could potentially damage our future.” she said.

“Tara, Basa!” is a good government program that should be extended to other regions after its pilot run in Metro Manila.  Recent studies have confirmed that many learners are lagging behind in basic learning skills like reading especially after the pandemic closed face-to-face classes and migrated to online classrooms.

Private companies and organizations can find a way to support “Tara, Basa!” or develop a similar volunteer program aimed at tutoring elementary students not only in reading but also in math and other subjects.

Volunteering to tutor elementary students who are lagging behind in basic subjects will be a good way to serve one’s community.  It will be an effort that will help shape the future generation.