Teachers to Marcos: Filipino, instead of English, must be medium of instruction

·Contributor
·2 min read
Students seated on chairs with plastic barriers attend a class as several schools in Students seated on chairs with plastic barriers attend a class as several schools in the Philippines' capital reopen for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 6, 2021. A teachers' group is urging President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to mandate the use Filipino instead of English as medium of instruction. REUTERS/Lisa Marie Davidthe Philippines' capital reopen for the first time since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 6, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David
Students seated on chairs with plastic barriers attend a class as several schools in the Philippines' capital reopen for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 6, 2021. A teachers' group is urging President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to mandate the use Filipino instead of English as medium of instruction. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

Teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Philippines (ACT) is urging President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that Filipino must be used as the medium of instruction (MOI), so that students will learn “on the language they best understand.”

The ACT issued this statement in light of Marcos’s pronouncement in his inaugural speech that English should be the MOI in schools.

Vladimir Quetua, ACT’s Chairperson, said that countries whose MOI is its national language are the same countries topping international educational assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

“Countries who usually take the top tier of these assessments are those whose main medium of instruction is their national language, that is why learning is well facilitated, and they perform better in the tests which were conducted in their own languages,” said Quetua.

Quetua also added that retaining English as the MOI may be impeding the learning of the students because, before learning concepts in critical subjects like science and math, they have to master the English language.

“In the classroom, they also cannot freely express themselves because English is not their vernacular. This dilemma also clips their ability for critical thinking and in formulating arguments,” Quetua added.

Although Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) and the Bilingual Education Policy ensure that students learn using their mother tongue language in basic education, Quetua said that English is still the language used in the country’s educational system.

Ang math at science ay itinuturo sa English. Ang mga materyales sa pagtuturo at pag-aaral ay nasa English. Kulang na kulang ang suporta at pagsisikap para magkaroon ng mga materyales sa lokal na wika at pambansang wika,” Quetua said.

(Math and science are taught in English. Teaching and learning materials are likewise in English. The support and effort to produce learning materials using local and national language is lacking.)

Kung gusto nating ma-facilitate at mapabilis ang pagkatuto at pag-intindi ng mga mag-aaral, dapat palakasin ang paggamit ng mga lokal na lenggwahe at ang ating pambansang wika na Filipino sa edukasyon. Dapat din itong iinstitusyonalisa at laanan ng karampatang pondo,” Quetua further pointed out.

(If we want to facilitate and fasten the students’ learning abilities, we must use the local and national language in education. It should be institutionalized and given appropriate funding.)

ACT also lambasted Marcos’s pronouncement that there must be a “rethinking” in the country’s education curriculum so that students will get better jobs, saying that the mission of education is more than just creating better employment opportunities but honing students to contribute to national development.

Para magampanan ito, ang mga mag-aaral ay dapat na may malalim na pag-unawa sa kalagayan ng lipunan niya, may malakas na damdaming makabayan at pagpapahalaga sa mga salalayan ng demokrasya,” Quetua said.

(To do this, students must have a deep understanding of their society, with a strong sense of nationalism and appreciation for the pillars of democracy.)

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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