The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through the Social Technology Unit of DSWD Field Office 7, commenced the national implementation of the Tara, BASA! Tutoring Program during the national kickoff ceremony on March 8, 2024, at the Executive Building of the Cebu City Hall in Cebu City.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian (second from left) signs the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on behalf of the DSWD Field Office 7, with Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama (third from left) and Cebu Normal University President, Dr. Daniel A. Ariaso Sr. (leftmost), for the city-wide implementation of the Tara, BASA! Tutoring Program, during the national kickoff ceremony.

The Tara, BASA! Tutoring Program is a holistic social welfare and development model that creates a learning ecosystem where college students from low-income families will be capacitated and deployed as tutors and Youth Development Workers (YDWs). These tutors will assist the struggling and non-reader elementary students with the 20-day after-school reading sessions, and the YDWs will conduct the parenting sessions with parents or guardians on the care and protection of children and guide them to be the first teachers at home or as Nanay-Tatay teachers.

This program, which uses the cash-for-work (CFW) mechanism, was launched and pilot-tested in the National Capital Region (NCR) in August 2023 and evaluated. The results showed the program succeeded in achieving its intended outcomes of strengthening families and combating learning poverty.

Building on the success of the pilot implementation, the Department extended the program to seven (7) other areas across the country, including Bulacan Province, Malolos City, San Jose del Monte City, Quezon Province, the Province of Samar, Taraka and Marawi Cities in Lanao del Sur, and General Santos City. The program will also continue its implementation in the NCR.

Regional Director Shalaine Marie S. Lucero hopes for a positive outcome of the city-wide implementation of the program.

“Let us look forward to the successful implementation of the program in all areas together with our partners from the LGU, DepEd, CHED, state universities and colleges, students, parents and learners, and other concerned stakeholders,” shared Director Lucero in her welcome remarks during the ceremony.

Memorandum of Agreement Signing

As one of the highlights of the activity, Secretary Gatchalian signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and State Universities and Colleges (SUC), represented by Cebu Normal University (CNU) President Dr. Daniel Ariaso Sr., for the program implementation in the city.

DSWD Field Office-7 Regional Director Shalaine Marie S. Lucero, DSWD-7 Social Technology Unit Head Ligaya Dael, CNU College of Teacher Education Dean Dr. Venus Cortes, Cebu City Councilor Francisco Espares, DepEd Cebu City Division Schools Superintendent Dr. Nimfa Bongo, and Executive Director of the Cebu Women and Family Affairs Commission Regina Lingaolingao witnessed the MOA signing.

The Department of Education’s (DepEd) Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA), conducted in June 2023, identified 4,865 children in grade school in the 67 public elementary schools in Cebu City as struggling or non-readers who will be the beneficiaries of the tutoring sessions for 20 days during the public school summer break.

The program will hire 584 education students in their second to fourth years from Cebu Normal University (CNU) as the program’s tutors and YDWs. Of this number, 487 will serve as tutors for the 4,865 learners following the 1:10 ratio. The 97 will be YDWs who will facilitate the Nanay-Tatay Teacher sessions for the parents of the learners following the 1:50 ratio.

In exchange for their service in conducting learning and reading sessions, the tutors and YDWs, who are college students enrolled in state and local universities and colleges, are provided educational support through the CFW mechanism.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, who graced and led the rollout of the expanded implementation of the program, shared a message during the activity.

“The President instructed us to transform the department from purely social welfare to developmental because, through development, we can pull our people out of poverty. Yes, social welfare is important, but social welfare, as we know, is temporary. Developmental programs, like Tara and Basa! are long-term and institutionalized,” said Secretary Gatchalian. ###

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