IF the report purportedly from Edcom 2 is to be believed, catastrophe has indeed befallen education in the Philippines. Our pupils trail their counterparts in the Asean region by disturbingly several paces in reading, comprehension and mathematics. Put quite directly, our pupils cannot read — and that distressing disability manifests itself in the students who make their way to higher education.

Give them a simple paragraph to read aloud, and you will hear pauses where there are supposed to be none, and no pauses, despite commas and clauses! If they cannot read aloud intelligently, then there is no doubt that they cannot understand — and if they cannot understand, we should not be surprised that they rely solely on the bits and pieces that they can pick from their teachers' lectures and have yet to discover the promise of supplemental reading.

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