After low PISA result, DepEd eyes English as medium of instruction in primary years
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is looking into the use of English as the medium of instruction in schools, especially at the primary level, after Filipino students fared worst among 79 countries in reading comprehension.
According to the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Filipinos fared worst among 79 countries in reading literacy and second-lowest in both mathematical and scientific literacy.
The assessment was given to 600,000 15-year-old students from participating countries in a two-hour computer-based test.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones noted that the country’s laws require students to be taught in Filipino until Grade 3, while other Asian countries such as Singapore uses English as the medium of instruction in the early grade levels.
English is introduced as a medium of instruction in the Philippines only starting at Grade 4.
“It’s an ongoing debate. Others want to continue the ‘mother tongue’ policy while there are also those who say that we should start with English since English is the language of the rest of the world. So we are looking into this,” Briones said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
“It could be in English and also in the mother tongue because the mother tongue is very helpful for the child in adjusting to school, separation from the parents, from the family, it helps with the language, the reading,” she added.
Briones pointed out that Metro Manila had the highest PISA score as compared to other regions in the country because of better facilities and access to alternative learning materials.
However, she noted that Central Visayas, Davao, and the Cordillera Administrative Region also ranked “very high” in the PISA since children start speaking in English early.
“There are many ways by which a child can learn to read, not only in the classroom. You have TV, radio, and the internet and also facilities,” the DepEd chief said.
Briones said the poor performance of Filipino students in the global assessment serves as a “wake up call” in improving the country’s educational system.
The government must focus on changing the content of the curriculum and how the students are being taught to improve the country’s educational system and score better in the international assessment.
Edited by MUF
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