Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Dep Ed Order No. 74, series of 2009, hacks to death the BE (Bilingual Education) Policy of the 1970's that tried to resuscitate our country's failing quality of education for the past 35 years. The new policy MLE (Multilingual Education) presupposes that the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction in the primary grades will be more effective.

The new order adds that English and Filipino will now take the backseat and be taught only as separate subjects from the preparatory level to grade three. These languages will return as media of instruction when the pupils become "ready" projected to be by the time they reach grade three. By the time they enter high school, their mother tongue becomes only an auxiliary and supplementary medium.

Accordingly, Dep Ed Secretary Jesli Lapus is bent on the promotion of EFA (Education for All) thru the MLE which is mother tongue-based with the end in view of building a strong foundation for learning English and Filipino as languages of wider communication. (Manila Bulletin, Thursday, July 30, 2009).

For clarification, it is important to mention here that mother tongue means the language one is born to, the first language (L1) spoken by him or her and is commonly used in the household and one's immediate family. It is the dialect spoken by the people other than members of the family in a small and specific territory defined by its geographical location and used daily as their language for communication.
  • For example, I was born in Lingayen, Pangasinan and Pangasinense is my mother tongue because it is the language I learned from my parents and have spoken since my diaper days. It doesn't summarily mean however, that all those born in Pangasinan are Pangasinenses. In Pangasinan alone, we have also Ilocano speakers like in Anda and other towns in the province. Just as basically, Metropolitan Manila is a Tagalog-speaking territory, not Filipino. In fact in the entire Philippines, there are around 80 or more dialects spoken by Filipinos. English and Filipino, being taught and learned in school as alternative forms of communication become for us, Filipinos, our second language (L2).
I personally regret that the Bilingual Education Policy must now say goodbye to the academe after 35 years of implementation. It means that the pupils' textbooks now in use in prep up to grade three are no longer appropriate. It means that teacher's manuals and other reference materials are now passe. They will soon be replaced to cater to the different dialects. What a waste!

For me, no new education policy is bad, initially, just as no old ones are good all the way. If an education policy failed, many factors made it so. The proponents, stakeholders, and language experts claim that one cause of the worsening state of education in our country today is the disparity between home and school languages. But there are more hindrances to this. I'm sure that implementation of this new order will be greatly affected also by poor financing, by the expertise of those involved, and time constraint. I'm afraid that with the number of clientele teachers and pupils and our government's resources problems alone, the cyclical failure of our policies may happen again. Add to this our problem on hierarchy that before policies reach the end-users, the flame dies like the proverbial cogon.

If we are optimistic and are truly transformed in values and attitudes, well, I say, let's try again. And good luck MLE!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails