Marcos wants English as medium for teaching in schools amid bigger issues

·3 min read
Students wait for their turn to go inside a classroom, while their parents watch outside a school in Manila on June 3, 2019, at the opening of classes around the country. Marcos intends to revive English proficiency among Filipinos.
Students wait for their turn to go inside a classroom, while their parents watch outside a school in Manila on June 3, 2019, at the opening of classes around the country. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signified his intention to revive English proficiency among Filipinos. (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. wants the Department of Education (DepEd) to bring back the use of the English language as a medium of instruction in schools.

In his inaugural address on Thursday (June 30), the son of the late dictator said that he wants the learning materials to focus on the basics to prepare the students for better jobs.

“What we teach in our schools, the materials used, must be rethought. I am not talking about history. I’m talking about the basics, the sciences, sharpening theoretical aptitude and imparting vocational skills such as in the German example, alongside the national language with equal emphasis and facility in a global language, which we had and lost,” he said.

Marcos added that this will help Filipino teachers and OFWs to “survive and thrive” overseas.

“Let us give OFWs all the advantages we can for them to survive and to thrive. Our teachers from elementary up are our heroes fighting ignorance with poor paper weapons.”

“We are condemning the future of our race to menial occupations abroad, then they are exploited by traffickers,” he said.

Marcos also expressed confidence in his running mate and incoming Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio, to face the country’s education problems.

“Once we had an education system that prepared coming generations for more and better jobs, there is hope for a comeback. Vice President and soon-to-be Secretary of Education, Sara Duterte-Carpio, will fit that mission to a T,” he said.

The Vice President has earlier cited three issues as among her priorities as DepEd chief namely: the impact of the pandemic on students, the possibility of holding face-to-face classes, and the review of the K-12 program.

Problems in the education system

As the country recovers from three years of pandemic which forced students to hold online classes and requirements, the next DepEd chief is now being asked to open schools for in-person classes.

The Philippines is among the few countries in the world whose schools have not fully opened for in-person classes.

Meanwhile, teachers are also asking for DepEd to hire more teachers and teaching aids to recover from “learning losses” during the pandemic.

Teachers are currently drowned in administrative work than in teaching according to Philippine Business for Education executive director Love Basillote.

Experts have also been calling on the government to review the K to 12 curricula as it fails to achieve one of its goals–to produce more labor out of high school.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, along with other senators, has earlier backed the review of K-12 program citing that most companies still prefer to hire college graduates, not K-12 finishers whom they see as only high school graduates or lacking in sufficient skills and qualifications for jobs.

Teachers’ salary

Teachers’ rights group on Thursday filed House Bill 203 which aims to upgrade the salary grade of educators.

“This adjustment addresses the injustice to teachers who have been left behind by other professions with similar qualifications such as nurses," ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said.

“Our teachers are only asking that they be given salaries that can provide them and their families decent lives. With the increasing workload of our teachers and the increasing cost of living, it is only just that they also be prioritized by the state," the lawmaker added.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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