EDITORIAL | Stop the blame game

The judgment of many Bicolanos, including DepEd officials, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders, was clouded by emotion following the report that there were over 70,000 struggling readers in the region.

For many, the knee-jerk reaction was to turn it into a blame game, holding everyone and everything from the lack of textbooks and classrooms, to the proliferation of devices, to the heavy workload of teachers, to malnutrition, to even the journalist’s sense of ethics responsible for the woeful report.

Everyone and everything was to blame—that is, except themselves.

No one took it upon himself or herself to say: this is my personal shortcoming.

And yet, everyone, absolutely everyone, benefits directly and indirectly from a fundamentally and functionally literate society—which by extension, means that at least some speck of responsibility should be on everyone’s shoulders in relation to the gargantuan concern.

The blame game aside, perhaps what is now exigent on us is to employ a more rational approach.

The prominence the report gained by making it to the banner headline of a national daily was, in one way or another, a blessing, because it forced us to look for real solutions to the real problem that we can no longer afford to ignore.

Any number of struggling readers—whether 1 or 70,000—should be unacceptable to us, especially in this age when literacy in its many forms is required to be a productive citizen of the global community.

Armed with the findings, what we need now is to sit down, set aside our emotions, and look for ways to genuinely help these struggling readers.

It is our personal responsibility and our moral obligation to ensure that no learner is deprived of the essential skills and knowledge to find success in the world.