By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Reforms in the basic education sector should address
persisting issues hounding the language of instruction, Senator Win
Gatchalian said, amid the nationwide celebration of the National
Language Month this August.
The language of instruction is considered one of the key issues
hounding K to 12 schools. Some 94% of 15-year-olds who participated in
the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) spoke a
different language at home most of the time that is different from the
language of instruction at school, which is English.
In the same global assessment participated by 79 countries, the
Philippines ranked lowest in Reading with only one out of five
Filipino students achieving at least the minimum level of proficiency.
The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier acknowledged how this may
affect student performance in both Science and Mathematics.
Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013,
also known as the K to 12 Law, mandates the basic education
curriculum’s adherence to the principles and framework of the Mother
Tongue Based-Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). In implementing the
MTB-MLE for Kindergarten and the first three years of elementary
education, instruction, teaching materials, and assessment shall be in
the regional or native language of learners.
From Grades 4 to 6, Filipino and English shall be gradually introduced
as languages of instruction through a language bridge program until
these two languages can become the primary language of instruction at
the secondary level.
The implementation of the MTB-MLE also poses a challenge to teachers.
A 2019 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies
(PIDS) pointed to the lack of textbooks written in the mother tongue,
as well as the lack of teacher training on using the mother tongue as
a language of instruction.
“Maganda ang layunin ng mother tongue education na turuan ang mga bata
sa wikang kanilang naiintindihan, ngunit nakikita natin na may mga
hamon sa pagpapatupad nito at naaapektuhan nito ang kalidad ng
edukasyon sa ating bansa. Sa pag-reporma natin sa ating sistema ng
edukasyon, kailangang resolbahin natin ang mga isyu sa mother tongue
education,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic
Education, Arts and Culture.
The senator has earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 610 which seeks a
Senate inquiry on the implementation of the MTB-MLE. (ai/mtvn)