Lawmakers urged to back Filipino as medium of instruction
MANILA, Philippines — A group of scholars has urged the House of Representatives not to pass the bills that would suspend the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction for Kindergarten to Grade 3.
“The students learn better when they are using our own languages so the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction must not be stopped,” Michael David San Juan, lead convener of Tanggol Wika, said at a recent media forum.
If there are any problems in the implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) program under the K-12 curriculum, he said it must be addressed by allocating more budget for its improvement.
The MTB-MLE program is an education strategy in which the learners’ mother tongue and additional languages are used inside the classroom.
“Learners begin their education in the language they understand best — their mother tongue — and develop a strong foundation in their mother language before adding additional languages,” the Department of Education (DepEd) said.
According to the curriculum and instruction division of DepEd, the agency is currently looking at the possibility of revisiting the existing language policy.
“Given the pronouncements of the President … language policies are being restudied at the moment,” the DepEd said in a letter to the Inquirer.
“Likewise, DepEd will be consulting our language specialists and the linguists in the country on revising the language policy in the basic education with the aim of further strengthening foundational literacy of the learners,” it added.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier expressed favor for using English as the medium of instruction.
Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo filed House Bill No. 2188, or the suspension of the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction for kindergarten to Grade 3.
Schedar Jocson, a professor at the University of the Philippines’ Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, said it was saddening that the concept of competitive education was always centered on the medium of instruction.
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