/ 4 October 2023

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian sought the regular conduct of the Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey to better monitor the country’s literacy rates.

FLEMMS is a household-based nationwide survey conducted every five years. The poll conducted in 2019 was the sixth since it started in 1989.

Gatchalian asked the Philippine Statistics Authority if it is possible to shorten the interval between FLEMMS surveys.

“FLEMMS is not only used by the Second Congressional Commission on Education, but also by the Literacy Coordinating Council to monitor literacy rates in our country, and by local government units to gauge the type of literacy programs that they should implement,” he said.

“It’s an important tool but a five-year gap is a very long time,” the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education added.

Dr. Dennis Mapa, national statistician, said that the agency sought a budget for the conduct of another survey after considering the impact of the Covid19 pandemic on literacy but the request was not granted.

The PSA, however, will push through with the conduct of the FLEMMS next year.

Mapa added that in its next meeting, the PSA board will explore the possibility of shortening the five-year gap in conducting the FLEMMS. He said that a three-year cycle for conducting the FLEMMS could be a reasonable option.

The PSA official cited the example of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, which was previously done every three years but now comes out every two years.

Aside from shortening the interval on the conduct of the FLEMMS, Gatchalian also raised the possibility of making the data more granular by conducting the survey all the way to the city level.

Mapa said that this can be done but would require increased budgetary requirements. A cycle of the FLEMMS costs around P60 million, he said.